July 21, 2014

Should the #Cardinals jump on Alex Rios?

Alex Rios / Photo via NBC Sports.
Jon Heyman, actually writing about a player who's not a Scott Boras client (what's up with that?) says that the Royals are kicking the tires on the Rangers' Alex Rios.

I have a better idea, for the team on the other side of the state.

Since he’s actually hitting this year, if the Rangers want to save a few dinero, I’d swap Allen Craig for him straight up. That’s with the idea of the Cards picking up the option.

Rios himself has become somewhat of a defensive liability with age. But, he's not so much so as Craig. And, a park-adjusted OPS of 110 is much better than Craig's 82. Unlike with the Royals (presumably), the idea would be of picking up Rios' option.

First, even with Rios declining defensively, he offers better defense, on both range and arm, than does Craig.

Second, he offers speed, even in decline, something that Craig clearly does not. 

Both are very important as scoring continues to decline. That said, Mike Matheny still appears semi-clueless about how to manage, and even more, manage for, speed, but that's another story.

Craig's contract is three years longer than Rios' is, treating both team options equally. At what seemed like very good cost control two years ago, trading Craig could still be dicey. The Cards would be gambling that he wouldn't rebound.

Because of that, and the salary difference ... a straight-up trade, realistically, would be an overpay.

So, I'd ask one other player in return.

Neftali Feliz.

Since he's not closing now, with Joakim Soria doing that for the Rangers, his next two arb years go cheap. Well, under my domino theory, his 2015 arb year goes cheap, 2016 a little less so.

Next year, with Feliz in spring training, the Cards look at making him the closer and giving Trevor Rosenthal the shot he's wanted at being a starter.

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