Reflecting on the Rios deal
The rumors were true. The Chicago White Sox claimed outfielder Alex Rios off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays and didn't have to give up anything to get him -- unless, of course, you count the $60 million or so that was left on his contract. Of course, the deal didn't get done fast enough to help the Orioles, who heard the same rumors as everybody else but watched Rios stick around with the Blue Jays just long enough to hit two home runs against them over the weekend.
The Rios salary dump is just the latest repudiation of the Blue Jays' contract frenzy a few years ago. They also released B.J. Ryan with about $15 million still guaranteed on the huge deal he signed after leaving the O's for free agency, and still are on the hook for much of the mega-contract they gave Vernon Wells.
It's hard to tell if J.P. Ricciardi's willingness to give away Rios is part of some kind of trend in baseball during these hard economic times. The Jays also shopped Roy Halladay a year ahead of his free agent eligibility, and the Indians did some downsizing at midseason, so maybe there is more of this to come this winter.
That might bode well for the Orioles, who need to fill some holes, but don't seem to be in sync with the upcoming free agent market -- which is heavy with run-producing outfielders at a time when the Orioles need a big-bat corner infielder. The O's have been "conserving resources" under Andy MacPhail, so they should be positioned well if some other teams start shedding high-salaried players.