Originally written on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 11/10/14

From yesterday's White Sox season preview...

Burning Question
Is Alex Rios a five tool player, or a five cent player?

Here is the thing about Alex Rios: he's shown flashes of absolute brilliance in the past. He has three seasons of at least 30 steals, and two 5+ fWAR seasons. But there are a lot of factors about Rios that scare the hell out of me. He's only hit .300 once in his career, and has had an OBP above .350 once in his career. Rios has two seasons with more than 20 homers (and none with 25 or more), and as a result, has just one season with a slugging percentage above .500.

Rios was put on this almost mythical platform during his time with the Blue Jays in part to the ridiculous contract that JP Ricciardi gave him. He rewarded Toronto with the best season of his career in 2008 when he signed the contract, amassing 5.6 fWAR. In the three seasons since, he's been worth 3.3 fWAR, while making $27.6 million. He's still got three years and $37.5 million left on that deal, for his age 31-33 seasons. 

It's really hard to see this working out well for the White Sox. Rios has this reputation for being an absolute studly player, and I don't think it's really warranted. He's 31 years old, and has a total of 20.7 fWAR accrued during his career. That's really not good at all. One thing I will give Rios credit for is that he is an excellent defender in right field, but those numbers will likely go down as he continues to age.

The White Sox don't exactly have a loaded farm system, so it's not as if they have anyone better to put out there than Rios. But this guy just isn't the player that people thought he could be, and he probably won't ever get to that level.


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