An Alex Rios Trade to the Pirates Now Seems Unlikely

Dave Kaplan of CSN Chicago says the Pirates and the White Sox sound close on a trade for Alex Rios.

Kaplan doesn’t make it sound like a deal is a guarantee, since he says he’s not sure if the two teams can come to a middle ground on the money. Rios is owed $18 M over the next year and two months. Earlier today we heard that the White Sox wanted Jameson Taillon or Gregory Polanco for Rios, but that the Pirates said no. We also heard the White Sox like Alex Dickerson.

UPDATE 1:47 PM: Thoughts from James Santelli on Rios…

Though Jose Tabata’s return from injury improves the Pirates in right field, it is still a very bad position on the team. The Bucs are second-to-last in the National League in Wins Above Replacement (-1.0 WAR) and Weighted Runs Created (91 wRC+) at the position. Translation? Only the Phillies have gotten worse production from RF this year.

Alex Rios would fit what Pittsburgh could use in right: an offensive and defensive upgrade at the position until Gregory Polanco is ready to grab the starting job next summer. Keep in mind that even though Rios has lost some speed at age 32, he was a regular center fielder just two years ago.

Over the last two calendar years, Rios has been among baseball’s best right fielders. He owns a .288/324/.476 split in that span, hitting 44 home runs, playing average defense and very good baserunner (48 steals in 61 attempts). Yes, all of that is in a period from selective endpoints, but the point is Rios represents a bona fide upgrade over Tabata. He hits both lefties and righties well and would shore up a weak spot.

UPDATE 3:11 PM: Jon Heyman says the deal is not close.

UPDATE 3:17 PM: Rob Biertempfel spoke to a source, and it doesn’t seem like the deal is on the verge of happening.

These last two updates don’t mean a trade won’t happen. Just that we shouldn’t expect it to be official anytime soon.

UPDATE 7:17 PM: Scott Merkin of says the Pirates’ interest in Rios has lost steam.

UPDATE 7:28 PM: John Perrotto says pretty much the same thing, and that the Pirates were never that high on Rios.

Outside of the original rumor, none of the updates have suggested a deal was close. Even the original rumor downplayed the deal, saying it wasn’t a guarantee and that the sides were debating the cash involved. Right now it doesn’t seem like Rios is coming to the Pirates.

UPDATE 9:27 PM: It doesn’t seem like a trade is likely for Rios, and the odds might have just gone down more. Rios was removed from the game tonight after fouling a ball off his foot. I was watching the game, waiting for #HugWatch updates. Rios fouled the second pitch he saw off the inside of his left foot. He stayed in to take four more pitches, but was seen grimacing and couldn’t put any weight on his foot. He was removed with a 3-2 count.

Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.

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