The Alex Rios Era ended on the South Side on Friday. I’m not sure it ever really began.
Rios was never great, sometimes very good, usually fine and in 2011 horrible (and I guess in 2009 also). You could say he never lived up to expectations, but I’m even sure what they were considering the Sox got him for free in August of 2009.
Rios did/does everything well but nothing great. He can run, he has some pop, he’s okay at getting on base and he can field. However, he’s not outstanding in any one of those areas and he always leaves you (or me at least) wanting a bit more. There's nothing wrong with this of course, but it also is what it is.
But if you ignore 2011, he was a very useful player for the Sox and while never a bargain, was paid as one would expect for a 3 WAR player. But since he does nothing outstanding, he doesn’t feel like he’s fairly compensated. I’m not sure if that makes him underrated, but on a team where he’s the, say, 4th or 5th best bat in the lineup, you probably have a really good baseball team. The White Sox really never got to that point during his tenure here which is not his fault—the 2010 team was probably the closest, a decent DH away from winning the AL Central in all likelihood.
So what does this mean for the Sox? We don’t know who they’re getting back, but everyone assumes it’s Leury Garcia. He’s 22 and plays up the middle (short, second and even a little center). However, he doesn’t walk and strikes out a lot. So he’s going to fit in too well with the Sox*.
*Seriously, would it kill the Sox to obtain a guy who gets on base once in awhile?
So it’s impossible to say if this was a good or bad deal for the Sox. But I think getting a probably major league player (again, assuming it’s Garcia) while getting out of Rios’ contract was a good move. Not great, but a solid if unspectacular move (much like Rios). Rios goes to a Ranger team that could use his jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none talents; I like the move for Texas.
And it frees up money for the Sox too. Hahn has just cleared $25 million off next year's payroll by trading Rios and Peavy. That’s a big deal when you remember that Floyd and Konerko are also coming off the books this winter. The Sox will have some money to play with, the question is: is there anyone to go after and if so, should they?
I’ll look at this more at a later date, but the reality is, probably not.
But Hahn does seem to have a plan... and if he’s thinking, what I’m thinking... well it’s an awesome plan. But more on that later.