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Grant: Rangers have prevailing waiver claim on Rios

Evan Grant says that, per major league sources, the Rangers have put in the prevailing waiver claim on Chicago White Sox outfielder Alex Rios


Per Evan Grant on Twitter, the Texas Rangers have put in the prevailing waiver claim on Chicago White Sox outfielder Alex Rios.

If this is true, the White Sox have 72 hours to work out a trade with the Rangers for Rios.  If a deal cannot be struck, then the ChiSox can either pull Rios back off of waivers, which means he would stay with Chicago for the rest of the season, or let the Rangers have Rios (and assume his entire contract) for the $25,000 waiver fee.

This is a complicated situation, and my guess, at this point, is that Rios won't end up with the Rangers.

First of all, there is the issue with Rios's contract.  Rios is owed $12.5M for 2013 (about $3.125M for the remainder of the season), $12.5M in 2014, and has a $13.5M club option for 2015 with a $1M buyout.  If Rios is traded, his 2014 salary and 2015 salary (if the option is picked up) increase to $13M and $14M.

That's a fair chunk of change to be paying a 32 year old outfielder with a performance history which is, shall we say, mixed.  After putting up back-to-back 5+ fWAR seasons in 2007 and 2008, Rios had an fWAR of 0 in 2009, a year which saw him claimed on waivers by the ChiSox, with the Toronto Blue Jays opting to simply let Chicago take him (and his contract).

Rios had a 3.4 fWAR in 2010, -1.1 in 2011, 4.2 in 2012, and 2.1 so far in 2013.  FanGraphs projects he'll be worth a little more than a half a win the rest of the season.

So there's probably not a lot of surplus value, either in 2013 or in 2014, with Rios.  He's someone who is arguably worth the contract he currently has, and could fill a need for a team that needs a short-term fix at a corner outfield spot, but he isn't the type of player whose contract is cheap enough that he's got significant surplus value.

So the Rangers obviously feel okay about the idea of taking on Rios and the financial risk that comes with absorbing his contract.  They likely, however, aren't going to give up much in the way of prospects for that privilege.

On the other hand, the ChiSox, according to the reports that were circulating in the days leading up to the trade deadline, aren't interested in parting with Rios just for salary relief.  Chicago is willing to part with Rios, but they want value back in return.  I imagine the ChiSox figure that if a team isn't willing to part with talent now to get Rios, they can shop him again in the offseason, and see if a team might be willing to pay more then -- particularly a team who finds itself, in January, with a hole in the outfield and no attractive free agent options left on the board.

And let's be realistic -- Rios is a decent stop-gap, but he's not a gamechanger.  He's got a .277/.324/.421 line on the season.  He's 26 of 32 stealing bases, so he would add a threat on the basepaths, but he's not a middle-of-the-order power bat that Nelson Cruz is.

Now, he would make the team better -- you could roll with a Rios/Leonys/Engel outfield against RHPs, with Murphy at DH, and a Rios/Gentry/Leonys outfield with Baker at DH against LHPs, mixing in Jurickson Profar in the infield or at DH as needed as well.  That would be better than the options currently available.

But it isn't enough of an upgrade to warrant parting with Luke Jackson or Luis Sardinas or one of the high-ceiling Hickory players.  If the ChiSox are willing to take Chris McGuiness or Ryan Rua or someone of that ilk, just so they can say they got something, that's one thing.  And if they are willing to eat a portion of the contract in order to get a better quality player, that's something worth considering.

But if the ChiSox want Texas to part with good prospects and take on the entire Rios contract, then I can't see a deal happening.