Alex Rios made quite the impression in his first game as a Ranger, going 2-for-3 with a walk and a game-tying RBI triple in the eighth inning, as the Rangers defeated the Astros 5-4. The Rangers acquired Rios yesterday for Leury Garcia, a 22-year-old infield prospect who made his Major League debut earlier this season after spending most of the year with Triple-A Round Rock.
In 465 plate appearances with the White Sox, Rios posted a .749 OPS with 12 home runs and 26 stolen bases. Rios is earning $12.5 million this year and will earn another $12.5 million next year. In 2015, the Rangers will have a $13.5 million club option with a $1 million option as Rios finishes out the seven-year, $69.835 million contract extension he signed with the Blue Jays in April 2008.
The Athletics narrowly lost to the Blue Jays this afternoon, so the Rangers take a one-game first place lead in the AL West. The Rangers have a very easy schedule through August, as they face the Astros five more times, the Brewers for a two-game interleague set, the Mariners six times, the White Sox three times, and the Twins for a three-game set which bleeds into September.
Starter Jeremy Hellickson has become the Phillies’ most enticing trade chip as he’s put together a solid month of July. After shutting out the Marlins on one hit and one walk over six innings on Monday, the right-hander lowered his July ERA to 1.97 and his overall ERA to 3.65. As a result, the Phillies are telling teams they want a top-five prospect to part with Hellickson, per ESPN’s Jayson Stark.
Obviously, a top-five prospect means something different if you’re the Marlins as opposed to the Rangers. And the Phillies’ price point for Hellickson isn’t likely to stay that high, but GM Matt Klentak is setting a lofty starting point so that the return might end up being higher than market value.
ESPN’s Buster Olney speculates that the Phillies could end up holding onto Hellickson and giving him a qualifying offer after the season. He notes that the Phillies have only $25 million tied up for the 2017 season, so they could afford to pay Hellickson in excess of $16 million if he were to accept.
Madison Bumgarner isn’t the only Giants pitcher who can rake. Matt Cain crushed a three-run home run during Tuesday’s game against the Giants.
Cain stepped to the plate with runners on the corner and one out against Reds starter Cody Reed in the bottom of the second inning. Reed threw a 1-1 fastball down the middle and Cain hit it about 20 rows back in the left field seats.
It’s Cain’s first homer of the season, his first since 2012, and the seventh of his 12-year career. He still has some work to catch up to Bumgarner, who has two homers this year and 13 in his career.
On the pitching side of things, Cain got the win against the Reds on Tuesday night, giving up four runs on six hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. He currently holds an ugly 5.95 ERA.