The Texas Rangers weren’t without what they feel is an impact right-fielder for long.
Texas acquired Alex Rios from the Chicago White Sox Friday for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
The move comes four days after Nelson Cruz was suspended for the remainder of the regular season for his involvement in the Biogenesis PED case.
Rios, 32, is expected to join the Rangers in time for their Saturday game and Texas manager Ron Washington thinks Rios will hit sixth in his lineup. The club will make a corresponding move when Rios joins it.
“He’s a quality baseball player,” Texas general manager Jon Daniels said. “Obviously we like players who play both sides of the ball. I think Alex brings that to the table. He can run the bases, play defense, throw. He’s a good fit for us. We had interest prior to learning of Nelson’s suspension. We were able to work out a deal so we’re happy about that.”
The Rangers had talked with the White Sox before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline but a deal didn’t get done. The loss of Cruz – the team’s leading home run hitter and RBI producer – left a void in right.
Rios fills that for the remainder of this year as well as 2014. Rios is signed through the 2014 season as he’ll get $12.5 million next year. The Rangers hold an option for the 2015 season.
“It (his contract) certainly adds a layer to it for us,” Daniels said. “Not only does he help us this year, but we’ve got some guys who are going to be free agents, corner run producing players who are going to be free agents after the season. He certainly fits the bill for us going forward as well.”
Both Cruz and left-fielder David Murphy will be free agents after the season. Daniels said the dal for Rios will not impact whether or not the team attempts to re-sign Cruz.
Rios is hitting .277 this season with 12 home runs and 55 RBI. He also fits with the Rangers’ aggressive base running as he has 26 steals on the season. Texas now has three of the top seven in steals on the American League on their roster in Elvis Andrus (30), Leonys Martin (26) and Rios.
“He’s a complete player, solid outfielder and tremendous base runner,” Washington said. “He just gives us completeness and I think that’s what we needed. I think Jon and his group need to be commended for getting this done for us. I don’t think the void that Nelson left here can be filled. He (Rios) is a solid baseball player and we just want him to come in here and play his game.”
Daniels said the interest level in Rios by the club was the same before the trade deadline as after it. The Rangers made a huge move before the deadline in adding a starter in Matt Garza. But the certainty in knowing Cruz wasn’t going to be around enabled the Rangers to get the deal done.
Daniels didn’t see the deadline as a major hurdle. The Rangers have made August deals in recent years, acquiring outfielder Jeff Francoeur in 2010 and pitcher Mike Gonzalez in 2011.
“We’ve said it a million times, the offseason, the trade deadline, August, there really are no deadlines,” Daniels said. “You’re trying to get better 365. It just so happens that last month and in this year August there was opportunities that presented themselves because of the work of everybody in the organization and ownership supported us, we were able to get it done.”