Ozzie Guillen, on what he’s seen from Alex Rios since the White Sox claimed him off waivers last month:
What have I seen from Rios? A lot of outs. The only batting ninth guy making $5 million was me. This mother [bleeper] is making $10, $12, $14 million, he ain’t going to be batting ninth [in 2010]. I’m going to make sure he earns his money. But right now I have to put him there because he’s struggling. Next year, if we have Rios batting ninth we’re in deep [bleep] once again.
Many people criticized the White Sox for assuming the remaining $60 million on Rios’ contract because his offensive production has never been great and he was slumping at the time of the move, but my take was that his excellent defense combined with solid offense made him an underrated all-around player in his prime who could definitely be worth $12 million per season going forward.
Of course, since the waiver claim Rios has gone 13-for-93 (.140) with a ghastly 23/2 K/BB ratio and no amount of great defense makes up for that type of “hitting.” White Sox hitting coach Greg Walker said recently that Rios “has now become overwhelmed with mechanical problems” in an effort to snap out of his funk and Rios noted that he’s hoping “to just wipe things away and get a fresh start next year, just simplify things.”
Jon Morosi reports that that the Detroit Tigers will make all veterans available via trade if they’re still under .500 by the end of June.
This was the position they entered the offseason with — everyone is available! — but they ended up gearing up for one more push with the core of veterans they currently employ. It was not a bad move, I don’t think. With the exception of the Indians, the AL Central is mostly down, or at least appeared to be over the winter, with the Royals in decline and the Twins and White Sox seemingly a few years away from contention. The Twins, however, have been fantastic and the Tigers have mostly underachieved.
So we’re back to this. Which veterans the Tigers can reasonably unload, however, is an open question. J.D. Martinez is in his walk year, so while tradable, he may not bring back a big return. Guys like Justin Upton, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera either have very large contracts or no-trade protection.
The end of June is still a while from now, of course, and while the Tigers are under .500, they’re only 4.5 games behind the Twins. But they had better turn it around or else it sounds like the front office is going to turn the page.
As you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and whatever it entails for you and yours, take some time to read an excellent article from Mike Bates over at The Hardball Times.
The article is about Eddie Grant. You probably never heard of him. He was a journeyman infielder — often a backup — from 1905 through 1915. If you have heard of him, it was likely not for his baseball exploits, however: it was because he was the first active baseball player to die in combat, killed in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in October 1915.
Michael tells us about more than Grant’s death, however. He provides a great overview of his life and career. And notes that Grant didn’t even have to go to war if he didn’t want to. He was 34, had the chance to coach or manage and had a law degree and the potential to make a lot of money following his baseball career. He volunteered, however, for both patriotic and personal reasons. And it cost him his life.
Must-read stuff indeed. Especially this weekend.