Jays allow White Sox to claim Alex Rios

NEW YORK — The Toronto Blue Jays liked Alex Rios, but they liked the money his departure would free up even more, which is why the struggling two-time all-star is now a member of the Chicago White Sox.

Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Alex Rios rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run against the Los Angeles Angels during fourth inning AL baseball action in Toronto on June 2. Alex Rios showed up at Yankee Stadium and saw his name in the starting lineup Monday night. He left the ballpark a few hours later

NEW YORK — The Toronto Blue Jays liked Alex Rios, but they liked the money his departure would free up even more, which is why the struggling two-time all-star is now a member of the Chicago White Sox.

General manager J.P. Ricciardi allowed Rios to be claimed off waivers by the Sox on Monday, receiving nothing in return other than some bottom-line relief for a player not long ago considered one of the franchise’s cornerstones.

“Do we take the financial flexibility in a time when the game is changing, or do we retake the player and try to address some of our needs?” Ricciardi said of the decision he was facing. “We like the player, but it’s just a situation where the contract for us, it enables us to do different things.”

The decision to essentially give Rios away comes a week and a half after the Blue Jays failed to deal away ace Roy Halladay prior to the July 31 non-waiver deadline despite taking offers on him for nearly a month.

The team has repeatedly denied that it is in a cost-cutting mode, even though some US$15 million was taken off the payroll last winter. Ricciardi said letting Rios go was not “a financial dump,” but acknowledged that the team needs “more financial flexibility.”

Rios signed a seven-year contract with the Blue Jays in April 2008 that guarantees him $69,835,000. He was due $5.9 million this season, $9.7 million in 2010, $12 million each in 2011 and 2012 and $12.5 million apiece in 2013 and 2014.

There is also a $13.5 million team option for 2015 with a $1 million buyout. The deal was signed months after the San Francisco Giants thought long and hard before rejecting a Rios for Tim Lincecum trade offer.

“Since we did the contract, so many things have changed in the game economically in the last year, little over a year, and this allows us to get out from under a contract and enables us to do more to address our club going forward,” Ricciardi said.

The Blue Jays now have about $52 million committed to five players next season, not including the $10 million due to the recently released B.J. Ryan, and it’s unclear what the team plans to do with its newfound fiscal wiggle room.

In the interim, Rios’s departure likely creates an opening for top prospect Travis Snider, who has been playing well of late for triple-A Las Vegas. No roster move was immediately announced.

His departure also creates a whole in the lineup, although the fans who routinely booed the 28-year-old Rios probably won’t be sorry to see him go.

Rios never lived up to his 30 homer-30 steal potential with the Blue Jays despite back-to-back all-star selections in 2006 and ’07 and his inconsistencies the past two years were maddening for team officials.

He’s struggled most of the season, batting .264 with 14 homers and 62 RBIS in 108 games, and compounding matters, he cursed at a heckling fan following a club function. It was captured on video and posted online, forcing him to apologize the next day.

Rios showed up at Yankee Stadium for Monday night’s game in New York and saw his name in the starting lineup only to leave a few hours later, on his way to a pennant race.

“I’d heard the rumours, but yeah, I thought I was going to stay here,” Rios said outside the Blue Jays clubhouse. “Stuff happens, and I just have to move on.”

———

With files from The Associated Press

Just Posted

Trudeau: no apologies for heckler encounter, pledges to call out ‘hate speech’

OTTAWA — Hate speech and the politics of division are creating a… Continue reading

Rocky Mountain House RCMP charge woman with drug trafficking

Rocky Mountain House RCMP have charged a woman with drug trafficking after… Continue reading

Officials report some headway on wildfires, but thick smoke hangs over B.C.

Wildfire crews report some headway was made over the weekend battling hundreds… Continue reading

WATCH: Central Albertans learn about farm life at Sunnybrook Farm Museum

Pioneer Days Festival in Red Deer Saturday-Sunday

Raising awareness for Bikers Against Child Abuse

Second annual Raise A Ruckus Against Child Abuse was held at the Red Deer Radisson Hotel Saturday

WATCH: Medicine River Wildlife Centre opens new playground

The grand opening of the playground was Saturday morning

Police chiefs want new data-sharing treaty with U.S. as privacy questions linger

OTTAWA — Canada’s police chiefs are pressing the Trudeau government to sign… Continue reading

Pope on sex abuse: “We showed no care for the little ones”

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis issued a letter to Catholics around the… Continue reading

Ottawa announces $189M to extend employment insurance for seasonal workers

ESCUMINAC, N.B. — Ottawa has announced $189 million for an employment insurance… Continue reading

Trudeau formally announces he’ll run again in next year’s election

MONTREAL — Justin Trudeau will run again in the 2019 federal election.… Continue reading

Smoke from B.C. wildfires prompts air quality advisories across Western Canada

VANCOUVER — More smoky, hazy air is expected to blanket much of… Continue reading

Anti-pipeline protesters released days before weeklong jail sentences end

MAPLE RIDGE, B.C. — Several pipeline protesters were released from a British… Continue reading

All eyes on Andrew Scheer as Conservative convention set for Halifax

OTTAWA — After a week of internal caucus squabbles, Conservative Leader Andrew… Continue reading

Trump says his White House counsel not a ‘RAT’ like Nixon’s

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — President Donald Trump insisted Sunday that his White House… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month