White Sox's Williams made another bold move in acquiring Rios (cont.)
Williams is an outside-the-box thinker whose moves usually look better at work than they do on paper. (Some stat sites pick the White Sox to lose every year, and miscalculate almost every year.) "If Peavy is what we think, we have one of the better front fours in baseball going forward, with (Mark) Buehrle, Peavy, (John) Danks and (Gavin) Floyd,'' White Sox co-owner Eddie Einhorn said.
Rios is seen by some as just as big a gamble as Peavy. One competing GM who looked into Rios after seeing an infamous YouTube video where he's seen cursing out a fan who rips him as a "bum'' after Rios declined an autograph, and that exec ultimately decided against pursuing Rios when he came up with too many negative opinions. "We do background,'' Williams said. "I heard about [the video]. I saw it. So what? None of us should pass judgment on something that didn't really harm anyone. This is a good guy. We have in the past taken on some guys with black marks. And they came here with a clean slate. We don't have those kind of players. And if we do, they're not here long.''
Williams sees Rios as a center fielder with corner-outfielder hitting ability, sees that he's still only 28 and hopes that he can a fill the Sox's one glaring hole in the field, their one "white whale'' in the words of one White Sox person. Williams has his fans, and some never doubt him. One competing GM, who conceded he's in the minority, said, "I like Rios, and I especially like him playing center field.''
Not everyone agrees. But one thing everyone can agree on is that Williams is much more willing to step out and take a risk than most other GMs. And everyone also understands his record for deal-making is about the best in baseball.
Around the majors
While veteran starting pitchers Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo have cleared waivers, the Reds will have to offset some of the salary to have a chance to trade either pitcher. Harang (6-13, 4.43) has $18.5 million left through the end of 2010, Arroyo (10-11, 5.04) has $16.5 million through 2010.
The Diamondbacks waited to send starters Doug Davis and Jon Garland through waivers. Both are underrated. Davis wins despite throwing in the mid-80s and Garland has never missed a start. Despite that, both appear to be candidates to clear or be claimed and traded.
The last day to claim Gary Sheffield and Pedro Feliciano, two Mets of value on waivers, was Tuesday, and it's still uncertain whether either was claimed. Before hurting his hamstring, Sheffield had interest from two AL teams. Feliciano had interest from many. But if GM Omar Minaya still thinks they are buyers, neither is going anywhere, anyway. Billy Wagner would clear waivers and would be a candidate to be traded, though, once he gets into a big-league game. He's pitching in another rehab assignment on Wednesday.
CBSsports.com reported Miguel Tejada was claimed on waivers, then pulled back by Houston, which is hoping for its usual late-year rally.
While many said they expected less claiming this year, some execs have actually noticed even more claiming of young, inexpensive players who are sure to be pulled back. While by rule anyone can be claimed, some see that claiming practice as annoying since there's no hope of actually acquiring those players.
Some are questioning why a greater effort wasn't made by Toronto to trade reliever Scott Downs and Jason Fraser and especially shortstop Marco Scutaro, a free agent-to-be, at the deadline. Unlike in the case of Rios, Ricciardi waited to put most of those players through waivers. But their excellent production and reasonable contracts make them very unlikely candidates to clear waivers (though as with Rios, a waiver trade can't be ruled out). The Red Sox would love Scutaro, but he is not likely to get to them.
Matt Holliday is an instant hero in St. Louis. He's raising his value, though Cardinals folks are still hopeful to keep him there. Scott Rolen's public regrets this week over his falling out with manager Tony La Russa and his subsequent trade to Toronto showed once again how players love to play in St. Louis. Holliday is likely to benefit as a free agent from potential interest from both New York teams and Boston (if it doesn't re-sign Jason Bay), but some folks who know him suggest he isn't the type to necessarily go to the highest bidder and may be more likely to press for a no-trade clause.
While Holliday is hot (.459 since going to St. Louis), the formerly hot Bay has cooled considerably. Estimates are that he's still a player who could get $60 million over four years as a free agent. Until his recent struggles, Bay thrived in Boston. He also has expressed a keen interest in staying there.
Two NL teams have shown interest in Vicente Padilla. But it remains to be seen whether a trade can be arranged or they just wait for Texas to release Padilla, who is a good pitcher but has earned the rep as a less-than-great teammate.
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