Just before the July 31 trade deadline the Pirates were said to be close to acquiring Alex Rios from the White Sox, but that deal fizzled and now like most players this month Rios was placed on waivers.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Rangers were awarded the waiver claim on Rios, which means if the White Sox are going to trade him Texas is now the only option. They can also simply pull Rios back and keep him.
Rios makes sense for the Rangers with Lance Berkman still on the disabled list and Nelson Cruz suspended for the remainder of the season. He’s a good defensive right fielder who’s hitting .277 with 12 homers, 26 steals, and a .749 OPS to basically match his career numbers at age 32.
Rios is owed about $4 million for the rest of the this season and is under contract for $12.5 million next year, plus a $13.5 million option or $1 million buyout for 2015. So if the Rangers think he’s worth that money he’d be more than a stretch-run pickup, giving them a longer-term replacement for Cruz in right field.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today says that the San Francisco Giants “have keen interest” in Rays third baseman Evan Longoria.
Longoria is coming off his worst season as a major leaguer, having hit .261/.313/.424 with 20 homers in 2017. He’s also still owed $86 million through 2022. Which, back when the deal was signed seemed like quite a bargain for the Rays — and likely has been over the duration of the contract — but now seems somewhat steep for the 32 year-old third baseman. That said, the Giants currently have Pablo Sandoval penciled in at third base on their depth chart, so Longoria would definitely be an upgrade, even if 2017’s dip wasn’t just a blip.
Nightengale says that for the Giants to take on Longoria, the Rays would have to take on a high salary veteran such as Denard Span or Hunter Pence. Span is owed $9 million in 2018, with a $4 million buyout on a $12 million option for 2019. Pence is owed $18.5 million in 2018 in the final year of his contract and has a full no-trade clause.
If he stays with the Rays, Longoria will achieve 10-5 rights — full no-trade protection due to being a ten-year veteran with five years of service on the same club — so if the Rays are going to move him, it’ll be much easier this offseason, not once the 2018 season begins.