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.
Indians third baseman José Ramírez had to be carted off the field in the top of the third inning of Sunday afternoon’s Cactus League game agaisnt the White Sox. Ramírez fouled a pitch off of his leg during an at-bat against pitcher Sean Nolin.
MLB.com’s Mandy Bell reports that Ramírez was diagnosed with a left knee contusion after he was taken for X-rays. The X-rays were negative, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
Ramírez, 26, finished third in AL MVP Award voting last season, batting .270/.387/.552 with 39 home runs, 105 RBI, 110 runs scored, and 34 stolen bases across 698 plate appearances. He was worth 7.9 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference. If Ramírez lands on the injured list, that would obviously be a huge loss for the Indians, despite being the overwhelming favorites in the AL Central entering the season.
The Indians will already start the season without second baseman Jason Kipnis and shortstop Francisco Lindor, though both are expected to return before the end of April. The infield is in rough shape at the moment.