The news that Alex Rios was claimed on waivers last week probably shouldn't be as big a story as it has become. It's August, which means that just about every player with a big contract is getting put through waivers, if only to assess the possible interest in their services.
Moreover, there are probably a handful of other notable players who have been claimed over the past week, although the gentleman's agreement amongst front office types usually precludes their names from getting out to the media and the public. Which is why J.P. looked as though he was ready to strangle Barry Davis in the pregame Jays Connected broadcast on Friday night.
The Toronto sports media, who occasionally wander through baseball stories like tourists, love this story because it gives them one more chance to simultaneously excoriate Rios and Ricciardi for their perceived failings. Rios doesn't care enough, and Ricciardi should have already received Tim Lincecum for him, blah blah blah freaking blah.
While he's been a bit of a mess this season, Rios' recent numbers point to a level of performance that is a bit more in line with what we should have expected. Since the All Star break, he's OPSing .805 with 4 homers, 16 RBI and 5 steals, and has been as solid as ever in right field, in spite of the fact that he really belongs in centre.
Moreover, the remainder of Rios' deal is not that bad given the current state of the market. He's owed $10.2 million next year, $12.5 million the following two years and $13 million for 2013. Were it not for the massive numbers coming to Vernon Wells in the coming seasons, Rios' deal would likely make sense for the Jays going forward.
Of course, that Wells deal - which EVERYBODY loved when he signed it - isn't going anywhere, so we're thinking that there is a pretty good chance that the Jays either work out a deal with the White Sox between now and tomorrow afternoon, or they simply let Rios go.
Above all, the Jays are looking for payroll flexibility, and the opportunity to completely unload a contract such as Rios' might prove to be too attractive an opportunity to pass up.
Have we mentioned how much we hate James Deacon?
Fatuous pantload James Deacon, who no longer writes for AOL Canada but is still invited to sit in with the aging white dudes forum that is Prime Time Sports, went on at length on Friday's show about how ludicrous it was that the San Francisco Giants could have Rios for free if they claimed him on waivers without having to give up their prized pitcher, and hey, isn't that a kick in the pants.
Yeah, Jimmy. When you drum up absurd hypothetical situations based on the thinnest, most threadbare information, they will seem unbelievable. But that's got more to do with you and the bizarre scenarios that you dream up than reality. So stop sharing these things. Just shut up and go away already.
Among his other gems on Friday, there was the bit about Milton Bradley (8 homers and 28 RBI) being a much more productive outfielder than Rios (14 homers and 61 RBI). And there was all of that talk about Rios and what other teams needed a "corner outfielder", when the truth is that every other team in baseball who would have any interest in Rios would look at him as a centrefielder.
Actually, Deacon likes to talk about "corner infielders" and "corner outfielders" a lot, as though he's just joined his first fantasy league with corner eligibility. We're guessing that he likes to rely on such axiomatic thinking because it helps reduce things down to the point where he can more easily pass spurious judgments upon them. Because James Deacon is unquestionably in the spurious judgment business.