After last week’s outburst by Alex Rios, it’s time for the Blue Jays to really consider trading the underachieving rightfielder. The outburst I am referencing can be found here. Essentially Rios got into a shouting match with a fan because he refused to sign an autograph for a kid.
To say that was a classless act by Rios is like saying Roy Halladay is just an “okay” pitcher. It’s the understatement of the century. I don’t care if Rios went 0-30 that night (he actually went 0-5). You can’t do that to a fan!!! This should be the final straw for the Blue Jays and I feel they should move on from the Alex Rios era.
Rios is the worst type of player for an organization to have. He is a player who shows glimpes of greatness but doesn’t show them most of the time. The GM and manager will talk about this player and say “If this player can reach his potential this year, we will have a great team.” Essentially what this player does is hold his team hostage. It’s an organization’s worst nightmare.
Chances are those type of players never reach their potential. Just ask any Cubs’ fan about Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. The Cubs were held hostage by those two for years waiting on their potential. Eventually they had to move on.
When Rios first came to the majors, all I heard from baseball experts and scouts was how great Rios was going to be. He was a “five tool” prospect who could do it all. Five and a half years later, Rios is a remarkably average player.
Rios looks like a guy that that should hit .320 with 28-30 HR’s, 100 RBI and 30 + SB’s every year. However, Rios has never had more than 24 HR’s, more than 85 RBI and never batted higher than .302 in a season. His average hitting line for a 162 game season is .287/16/77/.337 with 21 SB’s. That is nothing special.
Here is where advanced stats are sometimes deceiving. Rios’ WAR (Wins Against Replacement) the last two years is 4.6 and 5.5. That puts him at an All Star level. That makes sense since Rios was an All Star player in 2007 and had a good year in 2008. However, ask any Blue Jay fan about Rios and they will tell you that he doesn’t play like an All Star player everyday.
Here is what Toronto Star writer Steve Simmons thinks of Rios…
“Alex Rios has turned into a $10-million embarrassment for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Never mind that he plays the outfield with a not-so-reckless indifference. Never mind that he has taken his five-tool gifts and squandered them with his lack of passion and apathy.”
That pretty much sums up most fan’s feelings towards Rios. To me, Rios is not a winning ballplayer. I have never once watched a Blue Jays’ game and thought Alex Rios was anywhere close to being the best player on the field. He doesn’t make an impact on the game what so ever. The Blue Jays need to realize this sooner rather than later while Rios still have value.
Can the Blue Jays trade Rios during the season? That would be very tough. With the economy still in the toilet, there aren’t too many teams willing to take on Rios’ $10MM salary for this year. A trade in the offseason would seem more likely. The economy should be moving in the right direction in November (I hope), which would open trade options up for the Jays.
According to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, after 2009, Rios has five years and $57.7MM remaining on his contract. Rios also has a $13.5MM club option in 2015. At 28 years old is Rios worth $10MM a year for the next five years? Probably not. But is his contract so prohibitive that no team would trade for him? I don’t think it is.
Last year there was a rumor of a Matt Cain for Rios swap. With Cain’s breakout 2009 (7-1, 2.27 ERA), I don’t think there is a chance of that happening anymore. So where could he end up? The Giants would still be a possibility but not for Cain. Perhaps Jonathon Sanchez and some prospects would do the trick? Maybe the Mets? What about the Angels or the White Sox who will get Jim Thome’s and Jose Contreras’ contracts off the books after this year?
It will be interesting to see how the Blue Jays handle this situation with Rios. If the Blue Jays were smart, they would explore trade options for him. It’s pretty clear, in my opinion that Rios has worn out his welcome in Toronto.