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.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.