Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Peavy, Rios, and Lee and Lots of Phone Calls

The Chicago White Sox have been miserable all year and are having a semi-annual clearance sale. Alex Rios, Jake Peavy, and Alexei Ramirez are among the sale items that have been marked down (or up). Rios and Peavy are among the most sought after veterans as Major League Baseball nears the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.(4 pm EDT)

Peavy was scratched from his scheduled start this evening and is the subject of trade talk between the White Sox and a number of teams. Boston, St. Louis, and Oakland are among those showing interest.

Rios is a conundrum, tagged early in his career as the next Dave Winfield, his career has been a roller coaster.  He made back to back American All-Star teams as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2006-2007, which lead to a seven year, $64MM contract. While his production dipped slightly in 2008, the 2009 season led the Blue Jays to cut salary.

Rios was putting together a decent season with 62 RBI and a .744 OPS in 108 games when the Blue Jays placed him on post-deadline waivers. The White Sox claimed him and the Blue Jays said you could have him. Suddenly, Toronto had a lot less payroll.

Rios meanwhile didn't adjust well to his new surroundings - a .530 OPS in 41 games. Thus began the rollercoaster for Rios' career. The 2010 season saw a resurgence with 21 HR, 88 RBI, 34 stolen bases and a .791 OPS. A year later though, back down came the coaster; a .613 OPS with just 13 HR and 44 RBI in 537 at-bats. 2012? You guessed it, 850 OPS, topped .300 in his batting avg., 25 HR, 91 RBI and a 15th place finish in the AL MVP voting. Rios still has one year left on his deal, but his OPS is about 100 points less than last season and his HR and RBI pace is down again. I would stay away from him unless you have to give up little in return. He's still guaranteed $12.5MM next year.

Teams in play - Pirates, Yankees (Rios willing to waive his no-trade per NY Post's Joel Sherman); Rangers appear to be out of it for now.

Cliff Lee seems to be in this position every year. In 2002, prior to the deadline he was part of a package (Grady Sizemore, Brandon Phillips, Lee Stevens) that sent Bartolo Colon from Cleveland to Montreal. The '09 deadline saw him and Ben Francisco shipped to Philly for four players. He was sent to the Seattle Mariners that winter and was up for grabs at the 2010 deadline. After it appeared he was going to the Yankees in a Jesus Montero led deal, the Mariners sent Lee to the Texas Rangers for highly touted prospect Justin Smoak and three others.

Lee returned to Philly again as a free agent in 2010 for five years guaranteed (over $100MM) and an option for a sixth year.  It was one of the many recent mistakes GM Reuben Amaro Jr. made that boosted Philly's payroll significantly. Amaro tonight stated that there is "very little chance" that Lee gets dealt" and chances are "remote" that Michael Young does.

The rest of the field:

Ian Kennedy - Angels are going hard after him, willing to deal Howie Kendrick (Ken Rosenthal)

Marc Rzepczynski- A deal is in place that would send the lefty to the Indians (Derrick Goold, St. Louis-Post Dispatch)

Oliver Perez - Yeah, that guy. Multiple teams are said to be interested in adding Perez to their bullpen. (Jon Morosi)

Bud Norris - Astros are getting calls on Norris who would be a middle to back end of the rotation starter.

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