Updated November 1
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that free agent outfielder Alex Rios has parted ways with the Kinzer Management Group.and has hired Scott Boras to be his new agent.
The Rangers officially declined Rios’ team option before the switch as the 33-year old outfielder tests free agency for the first time in his career. Rios is projected to get a one year deal for around $7-8 million dollars this offseason.
Several teams have already expressed interest in Rios, but the Mets are not one of them reports Mike Vorkunov of NJ.com.
“The Mets have long been assumed to be looking to upgrade a corner outfield position this offseason and have been reportedly linked with several free agent outfielders. One outfielder on the market who could fit the profile is Alex Rios. The Rangers declined an option on him this month, making him a free agent.”
Rios had a precipitous drop in power this season, hitting just four home runs after averaging 15 homers and 32 doubles in his 11 year career.
Agent Paul Kinzer, who represents Rios, told The Dallas Morning News that the drop in production was due to injuries and that he played hurt during the second half of the season. He did not play after Sept. 4 because of a thumb injury. He also dealt with an ankle injury throughout the second half.
“His numbers were down because of the injuries. He stayed in the lineup and tried to do all he could because of what was happening with the team.”
Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors profiled free-agent Alex Rios, concluding that the 11 year veteran would earn $8.5 million on a one year deal. As we’ve seen from Sandy Alderson, he always prefers short-term contracts over lengthy, multi-year deals. Rios will be on the market and could make a let of sense until players like Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto arrive in 2016 and beyond.
Rios batted .280/.311/.398/.709 in 492 at-bats this season, hitting only four home runs in 131 games. However, he has been a very consistent player over the course of his career, hitting .278/.323/.439/.762 and averaging 17 home runs and 78 RBI. Coming off such a down year is unfortunate for Rios who is in the final year of the seven-year, $70 million contract he signed in 2008.
Chris Young was a one year fiasco and was in a similar position. He was floundering as a player after being highly touted early in his career. The difference is that Rios has a proven track record. His career numbers blow Young’s out of the water. You have to believe that one bad signing that didn’t work out, won’t make Alderson gun shy moving forward.
If the goal is to build from within and wait for Nimmo or Conforto to break through in the bigs, then Rios on a one year deal could make a lot of sense. He’ll be a veteran leader in the clubhouse, hopefully providing a little bit of power to go along with a resurgent David Wright and Curtis Granderson.
Rios alone isn’t the answer, but at one year and $8.5 million he might be too good to pass up for the bargain hunting Sandy Alderson.