The Cincinnati Reds continue to fall in the standings, but may still be buyers at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, according to Charlie Wilmoth at MLBTradeRumors.com. Sporting a sickly offense, the Reds would be most likely to target a decent hitter with contract flexibility, and the latest name to emerge as a potential pick-up for Cincinnati is Texas Rangers’ outfielder Alex Rios. Via Ken Rosenthal, the Reds are one of several teams with interest in the big rightfielder:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 27, 2014
Rios, 33, has hit just four home runs in 405 plate appearance for the Rangers this season, but his .428 slugging percentage is not far off his .442 mark, and his .328 OBP is actually a tick above his career average (.324). While the Reds ostensibly need help in leftfield and Rios doesn’t really fit there, it’s possible that manager Bryan Price could do some shuffling to make the pieces fit should Rios come aboard. Rios still shows good speed, too, with 16 stolen bases and eight triples so far in 2014.
On the downside, Rios is prone to striking out, and his contract is not cheap. He’s still owed around $5 million for the rest of this season, and the Rangers hold a team option for $13.5 million in 2015, which seems pretty steep given Rios’ age and level of production. The team does hold a $1 million buyout that would give the Reds an out.
Taking all of this into consideration, Rios does not look like a great fit for the Reds at this point. He plays the “wrong” position, is well past his prime, and costs a lot of money. Cincinnati is about as likely to make the playoffs in 2014 as they are to bring Pete Rose back as manager, and trading prospects for a player who won’t figure into their plans in 2015 and beyond would be a mistake.