Rangers acquire Alex Rios from White Sox

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Texas has found a replacement right fielder for the suspended Nelson Cruz.

Yesterday we learned that the Rangers put in the winning waiver claim for Alex Rios, setting up a potential trade with the White Sox, and Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com reports that the two sides have agreed to a deal.

Rios can’t replace Cruz’s power, but he’s a much better defender with 30-steal speed and has hit .277 with 12 homers and a .747 OPS in 109 games this season. He’s also signed for next year at $12.5 million with a $13.5 million option or $1 million buyout for 2015, so Rios is much more than just a stretch-run pickup for the Rangers.

According to Hayes the White Sox will receive a player to be named later or cash for Rios, which suggests they were mostly interested in shedding the remainder of his contract. There’s speculation that the PTBNL will eventually be revealed as Leury Garcia, a 22-year-old middle infielder who hasn’t hit much in the minors yet.

Diamondbacks, T.J. McFarland avoid arbitration

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Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.

McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).

McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.