2013 Fantasy BaseballFantasy Baseball

2013 Fantasy Baseball, Alex Rios Moved to the Rangers

J.P. Riccardi lives on. It’s been a long time since he’s been a general manager in the game, but his wildly stupid contracts nabs another victim. In this case, the solid but spectacular Alex Rios moves in another August trade. This time he goes to the Texas Rangers for player to be named later. The Rangers obviously wanted to fill the hole that Nelson Cruz left in the worst possible way.

One of my colleagues is covering the implications for the White Sox, so I don’t want to get too much into that. The easiest way to grade this trade is to take a look at Rios’ baseball reference page and scroll down to the salaries section. Officially, he was set to earn 12.5 million in 2014 and 13.5 million in 2015, but the trade escalates that to 14 million with a one million buyout. The White Sox will send one million the Rangers way to help offset the salary this season. He will get roughly four million for the remainder of the season.

For the White Sox, this was a move that was long overdue. It isn’t that Rios has been that bad. Heck, he has been solid all across the board since moving to right field in 2012. In 2012, he produced a .304/.334/.516 slash in 2012 and is producing at a .277/.328/.421 clip in 2013. Add in better than average defense in right and you have some value there. The problem is he isn’t worth 12 million dollars a season. In Chicago, that money would be much better spent elsewhere.

For the Rangers, Nelson Cruz’s absence leaves a huge hole in their lineup. I can’t say that Rios plugs that hole completely, but he is a guy on pace to drive in about 80 runs this season. For your fantasy team, that may not be starter quality, but in leagues that have you play five outfielders regularly it could be very useful.

An easier way to look at Rios is to look at his OPS+ this season. OPS+ is a statistic that measures a player’s OPS against the league average once ballpark effects are accounted for. Rios has a 100 OPS+ which means he is exactly league average. That’s not worth 12.5 million dollars, but it is worth something. Plus, Texas has the second best hitter’s ballpark in baseball. As they say, all ships rise with the tide.

As for the White Sox, it does not particularly matter what they get in return (rumors say it will be Leury Garcia). The most important thing they have done this trade season is clear more than 25 million in annual salary moving forward. That kind of flexibility allows them to retool their roster moving forward.

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