Chicago White Sox's Alex Rios steals second as Chicago Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney is unable to handle the throw from catcher Josh Phegley, allowing Gordon Beckham to score stealing home, during the sixth inning of an interleague baseball game at U.S. Cellular Field Monday, July 8, 2013, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
General Manager Rick Hahn has been actively pursuing trades to better position his Chicago White Sox for the future, and on Friday he made another move.
After being claimed on waivers by the Texas Rangers on Thursday, outfielder Alex Rios was traded to the Lone Star State Friday along with $1 million cash in exchange for a player to be named later or future cash considerations.
After a good 2012 season that saw Rios hit 25 home runs and drive in 91 runs, his numbers have taken a bit of a hit this year. He has only 12 home runs in 465 plate appearances in 2013, and he has driven in 55 runs in the current campaign. His stolen base numbers have gone up, however, with 26 bags swiped in only 32 attempts with the Sox.
The main reason for the 32-year-old Rios' departure, however, isn't because of his production this season. The fact is that the Sox are looking to trim some salary, as Rios will be going into the last year of a five year contract next year that will pay him $12.5 million. He also has a team option for the 2015 season, when he will be owed $13.5 million.
Between this move and the late July trade that sent pitcher Jake Peavy to the Boston Red Sox, as well as the impending free agency of players like Alexei Ramirez, the White Sox are poised to drastically lower payroll that is in the top 10 in baseball this season.
Despite the high amount of output salary-wise, and despite a recent sweep of the New York Yankees at US Cellular Field, the Sox are in last place in the AL Central, and are at risk of losing 100 games for the first time since 1970, when they lost 106 contests.
There is still some reason for optimism among Sox fans though. The team will finally get to see the prospect they got in the Peavy swap when outfielder Avisail Garcia will likely make his debut against the Minnesota Twins. Originally, the Sox wanted Garcia to start the second game of Friday's doubleheader against the Twins, but with his flight likely not making it into Chicago until just before first pitch, manager Robin Ventura said that the outfielder will likely start Saturday's game instead.