Phil Rogers's post on Baseball | Latest updates on Sulia
Will the White Sox trade Alex Rios this winter? It's something to consider as they
try to figure out a way to build a team their fans will embrace while dealing with very limited payroll flexibility. Including the buyouts of contract options for Jake Peavy, Kevin Youkilis and Brett Myers, the White Sox already have $80.75 million on the books, and that only locks up the services of seven players – Adam Dunn, John Danks (recovering from shoulder surgery), Paul Konerko, Alex Rios, Alexei Ramirez, Matt Thornton and Jesse Crain.
That number jumps to $90.25 million if they pick up the option on Gavin Floyd’s contract, which would seem to be a must if they let Peavy walk. And on top of that, Gordon Beckham, Alejandro De Aza and Philip Humber are eligible for arbitration, and Dayan Viciedo faces a tricky contract situation as his four-year, $10-million deal has expired and he is in line for either another multi-year deal or a pay cut, as he is not yet eligible for arbitration. The White Sox opened this season with a $97.7 million payroll but added to it throughout the season by acquiring Youkilis, Myers and Francisco Liriano, among others. It’s not known where they will set the payroll for next season, but you can see that it is going to be a tight squeeze to re-sign free agent A.J. Pierzynski or find a way to negotiate a new deal with Peavy that turns his $4 million buyout into something other than dead money. Among the guys with the big contracts, Rios is the most movable player. He’s owed $25 million over the next two years, with a 2015 option for $13.5 million that includes a $1 million buyout. Any team acquiring him would be taking on a $27 million, two-year obligation, however, as his contract includes an annual bump of $500,000 if he is traded.
This will be a bad year for free agents, so a guy with that fixed cost coming off a very good 2012 would be an attractive option. I’m not sure you can say the same thing about Dunn or Konerko, even though Dunn has 41 homers with two games remaining. His .206 average and 220 strikeouts are huge turnoffs, even if they are offset by 105 walks. Should the White Sox trade Rios? That’s a tough call but I’m pretty sure it is an option that they are going to be forced to consider.