Jun 20, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Chicago White Sox right fielder Alex Rios (51) hits a single in the sixth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates Trade Rumors: Alex Rios

The Pirates desperately need a right fielder right now. So desperately that Brandon Inge has been getting semi-regular platoon time as a right fielder against left handed pitching. If Brandon Inge is getting semi-regular playing time with an MLB franchise, something is wrong somewhere. David Schoenfield wrote an article recently arguing that the Pirates should seek a trade for Giancarlo Stanton due to their needs in right field, and the way Stanton could fulfill those needs while providing decent protection in the lineup for Andrew McCutchen. Tom wrote a great article covering why the Pirates shouldn’t go for Stanton, but if not Stanton who? Enter Alex Rios.

Rios has produced consistently for the last couple of years. He hasn’t put up the gaudy power numbers of Stanton, but he’s posted a triple slash of .304/.334/.516 for an OPS of .850 in 2012, and this year he’s hitting a very solid .284/.344/.472, with an OPS of .816.

Rios has played in at least 145 games every year since 2010, so his health is less of a concern than Stanton’s, who for all his ability as a player has had struggles with his health during his career. The Pirates have had an experience with a good power bat brought in at the trade deadline that missed a lot of games, when Derek Lee came to town in 2011, when he played, he absolutely mashed to the tune of .337/.398/.584, but he only played in twenty-eight games for the Pirates that year after the trade deadline, and then retired.

One of the drawbacks of signing Rios as compared to signing Stanton is that Rios is only signed through 2014, while Stanton wouldn’t become a free agent until 2017. While that could play more in favor of dealing for Stanton, we have to remember that Gregory Polanco is likely going to be in the big leagues by the end of 2014, so the long-term services of Rios aren’t necessarily the single most important thing for the Pirates, if they could swing a deal for Rios without dealing away Polanco, the potential short-term services of Rios followed by years of Polanco would be preferable to the potential long-term services of Stanton.

The real question comes down to what the Pirates would have to give up to get Rios in Pittsburgh for a year and a half. Would it be worth the trouble to send a package of highly rated prospects over to Chicago for that? The market hasn’t shaped up quite yet, but it does sound like multiple teams are interested in Rios. He has a six team no trade clause which could also muddy the waters of what it would take to acquire him, but expect the Pirates to give up a couple of good prospects to get him if they pull the trigger.

Hopefully they wouldn’t be forced to sell the farm (or Jameson Taillon) and if the right price is offered, they should absolutely go for a trade with Chicago. Alex Rios would provide what the Pirates need (a starting right fielder with some pop) but without blowing up the farm system (and subsequently the future success of the franchise) to get him.


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Tags: Pittsburgh Pirates

  • McGoo_Man_Mr

    I’d like to pull off a package deal. Get Rios and Jesse Crain from the White Sox.

  • John Janesko

    He actually has a team option for 2015 with a 1 million dollar buyout

    • Campbell Sproul

      I didn’t catch that, thanks for letting me know!

  • Matt

    I want to see what Lambo can do in the Majors… put him in RF. Can’t be any worse.

    • Tj Streib


  • Adam Sager

    I was looking at this possibility and I thought a package of Alen Hanson, Nick Kingham and Vic Black would be a fair trade.

    I don’t see the Sox packaging Crain with Rios and taking value away from him. But in the end the White Sox may prefer to get a guy like Polanco or Taillon to be the centerpiece of the deal.

  • Tj Streib

    Don’t need Rios, don’t need Stanton. We may already have our answer at AAA! OK let’s start it – #FreeLambo – 7 HR/21 RBI/1.175 OPS already at Indy! (21 HR combined Indy/Altoona)

    • Campbell Sproul

      I’d like to see Lambo get a chance, but knowing who the Pirates are, they’re not super high on guys without that “veteran presence” or experience. Hopefully Lambo comes up in September, at least.

  • Bob Jones

    You’d have to be stupid to accept a trade for Rios with Polanco included. The guy has a higher ceiling than McCutchen, and if you get Rios without trading him, it buys you time in right field until you call him up.

    Thinks of it this way… outfield of Marte, McCutchen and Polanco, all of which have center field defensive talent and could all produce a .300 batting average with speed. And with the drafting of Meadows, you have a chance to possibly move one of those guys later on for top prospects again.