With the White Sox bringing up the rear in the AL Central, they are expected to make a plethora of players available over the next month leading up to the July 31 deadline. Among them is outfielder Alex Rios, enjoying an adequate season out of the #3 spot in the White Sox lineup as he carries a .771 OPS entering July. He is earning $12.5 million this year; he will earn another $12.5 million next year and has a $13.5 million club option for 2015 with a $1 million buyout.
Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago says the Rangers, Giants, and D-Backs are three teams showing interest in Rios as the Sox wrap up June.
According to industry sources, Rios has numerous clubs, including Pierzynski’s Texas Rangers, the San Francisco Giants and the Arizona Diamondbacks watching him from city to city right now.
Rios has a limited no-trade clause in his contract that allows him to veto a deal to six teams. That said, if a contender comes calling he will most likely waive his no-trade rights.
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.