By Michael Rand
Any Twins fan wringing his or her hands over Chicago’s acquisition of Alex Rios should instead take those hands and start clapping. Even if the move marginally helps the White Sox this season — and we’re hardly convinced it does — it certainly hamstrings the South-siders financially for years to come. Consider that Rios is owed close to $60 million over the next five seasons. Consider that Rios, 28, who should have stepped into the prime of his career after signing that huge contract in 2008, has instead regressed. He had an OPS of .798 last season, and that’s down to .744 this year. He has a little power and some speed. He is a nice player, but he’s making way more than he’s worth.
Also, in the short-term: with three outfielders — Scott Podsednik leading off, Jermaine Dye batting third, Carlos Quentin batting sixth — and Jim Thome DHing, where exactly is Rios supposed to play?
So why did Williams make the move? Well, to hear him talk, it sounds as if it was just gosh-darn fan excitement that pushed him over the edge (of sanity):
“Yeah, we’re out on a limb a little bit with the last two acquisitions, but what we’ve seen in recent games at home is our fans are starting to wrap their arms around this team,” Williams said. “People are getting excited about the possibility. I think they can see this team being a dangerous team when we get to the playoffs and match up against anyone.”
The fans like the White Sox, so Williams spends $60 million on a slightly above average second or third outfielder. As Deadspin noted, Williams was also ticketed for jaywalking on the same day — an offense that certainly qualifies as his least-embarrassing mistake Monday.