The Washington Post

Here’s why teams should think twice about trading for Alex Rios

(Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)

At least four teams have asked about Rangers outfielder Alex Rios, including the Mariners, Giants, Reds and Yankees. The Yankees might be a non-starter, since they are one of six teams on his no-trade list.

It is not surprising that Seattle or Cincinnati would have interest in Rios. The Mariners could use a right-handed hitter with some pop and the Reds could use some offensive help – but would Rios be the right fit?

Rios is batting .299 with a .328 on-base percentage and .436 slugging in 409 plate appearances this year. His 0.9 wins above replacement places him as the 46th best at his position. He has just four home runs and 49 extra-base hits, but there are enough red flags to suggest a team trading for his services could be getting a bill of goods.

The first is a gaudy .357 batting average on balls in play. The league average for non-pitchers is .301 and we would expect Rios to have a BABIP of .343 based on his career numbers, which suggests that Rios could be in for a correction.

He is also swinging and missing more when facing right-handers than at any point in his career, and has seen a major uptick against lefties as well.

And finally: where did his power stroke go? In 2012, he had a .441 ISO when pulling the ball, followed up with .314 last year. This season it is a pedestrian .152.

It is tempting to see Rios as a piece that could get you one step closer to a World Series ring, but there are enough red flags to warrant taking a pass.

Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd.
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