Padres Free Agent Target: Alex Rios
Simply put, the Padres really really need a right fielder. That’s an understatement. They need a right fielder like the NFL needs it’s own parole board (That’s a lot in case you were wondering). While there aren’t many premium free agents available at this position, there is one player that the Padres could make good use of. That player is the 33-year-old Alex Rios who recently hit the open market after the Texas Rangers declined his 2015 option. No, Rios is not the same player he was in Toronto or Chicago but he’s still more than serviceable and he should definitely be on San Diego’s radar.
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Rios is a career .278 hitter with 165 home runs total over the course of his 11-year career. So no, he’s not a bludgeoning right fielder which in Petco Park, doesn’t really matter because you’re not going to see may legitimate sluggers there anyway. But Rios is still a productive player as he’s driven in 80 or more runs on five separate occasions. He’s still a consistent base stealer, having hit double digits in steals in 10 of 11 years. Obviously a better choice than what the Padres put out there last year (Chris Denorfia).
He isn’t always a steady fielder, though. He often looks awkward out there and sometimes makes mental mistakes that can turn out costly (i.e the Yu Darvish almost no-hitter last year). Is he a liability? No, not at all but don’t expect him to be Ichiro Suzuki in his prime out there. What the Padres would be getting is a relatively consistent, above average right fielder which is more than they’ve had in recent years. He’s durable as well, averaging 144 games a season throughout his career. Not bad for someone who will come at a pretty low price.
Rios failed to put up a good season in his walk year, and so his price tag has been significantly diminished. Which, for the Padres is a good thing. A very good thing. It allows them to scoop him up while leaving room to invest in other areas of weakness. He also won’t cost a draft pick which is the perfect scenario for a team that plans to invest heavily in the farm system. Rios isn’t a superstar, but he’s a worth while chance that the Padres need to seriously consider making. Please, just sign a right fielder! He’s right there for the taking.