Veteran outfielder heads to Texas; Chicago to get player or cash in return
CHICAGO -- The reshaping or retooling process embarked upon by White Sox general manager Rick Hahn took two major steps forward on Friday.
Alex Rios was traded to the Rangers, along with $1 million in cash considerations per a Major League source, for a player to be named later or cash considerations. According to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan, that player to be named later will be utility infielder Leury Garcia, who started the season with the Rangers and hit .192 in 52 at-bats.
Friday's move also opened up a starting spot for Avisail Garcia, the 22-year-old outfielder acquired from Detroit in a three-team deal that sent Jake Peavy to Boston. The White Sox did not plan to call up Garcia from Triple-A Charlotte unless there was everyday playing time available, but their future was scheduled to meet their present in Game 2 of Friday's split doubleheader against the Twins.
"He's a multitalented athletic kid who is very aware of what finishing touches need to be made to his game, and he's going to get the opportunity to do that in Chicago," said Hahn of Garcia, who hit .370 with one home run and nine RBIs while playing center field over eight games with Charlotte. "Again, it can be bittersweet at times.
"When you see a player of Alex's talent walk out the door, you understand it's been our underperformance that led to necessitate a move like that. At the same time, we may be six hours away from seeing a player who could be a very big part of our future, and that's a reason for some excitement."
Rios originally was in the starting lineup for Game 1 on Friday, but when the White Sox took the field, it was Blake Tekotte in center field and Jordan Danks in right field behind his brother, John, on the mound. The deal became official about 15 minutes before the 48-hour waiver claim window expired.
Rios' departure means the White Sox subtract a .277 average, as well as 12 homers, 55 RBIs and a team-best 26 stolen bases. They also save about $3 million this season, with Rios set to earn $12.5 million in '14 along with a $1 million buyout or $13.5 million option for '15. Rios' salaries increased by $500,000 when he was traded.
So thankful 4 the time i spent in Chicago. Thank u guys so much. This was a gr8 run for my fam and I. U will be missed dearly. #WhiteSox
While the veteran outfielder reiterated Friday that he enjoyed his team in Chicago, standing outside the White Sox clubhouse while Game 1 was taking place, Rios is excited to go to a playoff contender. He's also excited to have weeks of speculation in the past.
"Yeah, it's finally over. It was a little bit of a distraction," Rios said. "Now that it happened, I'm going to be able to focus on what I have to do, and that would be playing good baseball. I believe it's going to be refreshing for myself. I'm going to go to a team that is fighting for a playoff spot.
"I wasn't thinking about it. I wasn't expecting it, but at the same time, it could happen. It did happen. So now it's just a new chapter in my life and in my career, so let's see what happens.
"It was a great ride. I enjoyed my whole time here," said Rios, who came to the South Side in a 2009 waiver claim from the Blue Jays and is departing through a waiver claim trade. "I had many great moments here. So I'm going to miss this place."
Since July 12, the White Sox have moved Matt Thornton, Jesse Crain, Jake Peavy and Rios. But as Hahn stated to MLB.com in a recent interview, these moves certainly aren't part of a rebuild. The White Sox will not be throwing away 2014, not with a talented young pitching staff featuring Chris Sale at the top, and payroll flexibility to add talent through the Draft, in international spending and possibly other avenues.
To get that reshaping process going, though, the White Sox need to get a look at what they have in action. Their disappointing showing in 2013 allows them to study their future roster right now.
"That's a big consideration for us as we start to retool this club and bring in that next group of guys and get them going on their Major League career and development," Hahn said. "Obviously there's a fair amount of economic flexibility that comes with a trade like this. We look forward to using it both in the Draft and internationally and potentially in other avenues to acquire players for Chicago."