Trade Target: Alex Rios

Three weeks and one day remain for the Yankees to make any non-waiver trades to improve the Major League roster. During that period, Chris and I will be discussing possible acquisitions from clubs likely to be selling. Brian Cashman has already made one move to bolster the rotation, but there are still other needs: the infield, outfield, and yes, still the rotation. Today, let’s take a look at Alex Rios as a potential acquisition.

Texas has a 0.1% chance at a playoff berth, so it’s safe to say they should be sellers. There are a few intriguing players on the Rangers’ roster, and Adrian Beltre would be pretty awesome in pinstripes, but perhaps the most realistic target is Rios. Right field is a big hole in the Bronx right now, with Carlos Beltran struggling to hit and stay healthy, Alfonso Soriano DFA’d, and Ichiro being nothing special.

The righty swinging outfielder is hitting .305/.334/.440, a 106 wRC+ this season. He doesn’t walk much or offer great power, but he’s been an above average hitter for the past three seasons and mashes southpaws to boot. Moreover, he’s excellent on the basepaths and not bad defensively. There’s no question he’d be an upgrade in right field.

Rios, 33, is in the final year of a deal he originally signed with Toronto. He’s due $12.5M this season, meaning $6M or so remains with a little more than half the campaign in the books. The contract also features a $14M club option and $2M buyout. The Yankees could certainly absorb what’s left in 2014, but there’s one big if: would Rios be willing to waive his ability to block a trade to the Yankees? Guaranteeing his 2015 option might be what it takes for him to agree. Whether that’s worthwhile depends on the prospect(s) the Yankees would have to deal.

It’s hard to say what the Yankees would have to sacrifice to obtain Rios, but the ability to eat the rest of his 2014 salary and the buyout might be pretty attractive to the Rangers. Unfortunately, the ability to block a deal to the Yankees adds another layer of difficulty, and likely would make the trade costlier. Strictly from a performance standpoint, Rios makes perfect sense for the Cashman pursue.

Statistics via Fangraphs. Contract information via Cot’s.

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