By Paul Sullivan, Tribune reporter
The White Sox sent outfielder Alex Rios to Texas, along with $1 million, for a player to be named later or cash.
Rios, scratched from the lineup prior to Friday’s game, was happy to get a chance to play for a contender.
“You know what, with the situation that we were in, it wasn’t too much of a surprise,” Rios said. “They were trying to get rid of salary or whatever they wanted to do. I think many people expected this to happen. You know what, it’s all good.”
The Sox are reportedly getting 22-year-old infielder Leury Garcia in return.
Rios was owed about $4 million this year and $13.5 million in 2014, including a $1 million buyout of his 2015 option.
“It’s difficult to let a player like Alex Rios go,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “He in my opnion has been outstanding for us both on and off the field during his stay in Chicago, a pure class act. At the same time, this opens up an opportunity for playing time for Avisail Garcia.”
Garcia is en route from Charlotte and is expected in the lineup for tonight’s second game. The move was made to get salary relief in 2014 and playing time now for Garcia.”That’s a big consideration for us as we start to retool this club and bringing that next group of guys in, get them going on their major league career and development,” Hahn said. “Obviously there is a fair amount of economic flexibility that comes with a trade like this.”
Four different Rangers scouts have watched the Sox since mid-June, scouting Rios and Jake Peavy. The $1 million will cover the compensation Rios gets for being traded, since it’s part of his contract.
“It was a great ride,” Rios said. “I enjoyed my whole time here. I had many great moments here.”
Before the game, it was business as usual for Sox manager Robin Ventura.”All that stuff is tough because you don’t have any control over it,” Ventura said of reports the Rangers claimed Rios on waivers Thursday.
“Most of the time nobody ever hears about it. Everybody goes on waivers, everybody goes through them, and sometimes guys are claimed. This is kind of different because it comes out and he has to be asked a lot of questions about it … It’s different when it comes out, you have to answer it, and it becomes a distraction.”
Sox general manager Rick Hahn is scheduled to address the media later.
Rios took a preemptive move before being asked any question about it, telling reporters as he walked into the clubhouse he won’t comment “unless something happens.”
Ventura had Rios batting third in this afternoon’s lineup against the Twins.
“I don’t want him going anywhere,” Ventura said.
Adam Dunn was also put on waivers and cleared, according to CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman. A team would have to pick up the remainder of Dunn’s contract, which makes a deal unlikely.
Ventura said he hadn’t called anyone in management for information about the trade talks. Ventura said “everybody has a foregone conclusion that he’s gone,” adding he feels otherwise.
Do the departures of Jake Peavy, Matt Thornton, Jesse Crain and Rios signal any change in philosophy towards the future?
“I think the way the season has gone, that’s the reason for it,” Ventura said.