Alex Rios Signed By Royals, Mariners Free Agent OF Options Are Dwindling


According to Jon Heyman at, the Kansas City Royals have signed right fielder Alex Rios to a 1 year, $11 million contract:

Alex Rios, 33, is an 11-year MLB veteran who spent the last two seasons with the Texas Rangers. The speedy right-handed right fielder was a speculated target of the Seattle Mariners this offseason, though that was purely conjecture for the most part. The M’s were looking at bigger fish in Nelson Cruz and Melky Cabrera— nabbing one of them– while many considered Rios a potential fall back.

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Earlier today I wrote about why I think the Mariners should sign Nori Aoki to play right field in 2015. Now that Alex Rios is off the board, the free agent options for the Mariners dwindle further.

Who is left on the free agent market? Brennan Boesch, Endy Chavez, Emilio Bonafacio, Colby Rasmus, Mike Morse, and Chris Denorfia are all still available. None of those names jump out as game-changers, and GM Jack’s statement that the Mariners might need to get creative to fill their outfield needs seems all the more likely.

Personally, I think the Mariners could do well to not overspend in the outfield this offseason, as the team can be competitive whether or not they get their hands on another productive outfielder.

If the M’s play the way they are supposed to this season, they will be in the thick of the playoff race at the trade deadline. And when July 31 looms large, the Mariners front office will want to have trade pieces available to get someone at the deadline to send them over the top.

What’s wrong with signing Nori Aoki to a 2-year contract, letting him take the majority of innings in right field through July. Then, when the deadline comes? The Mariners can opt to trade for another outfield bat that’s got one-year left on a contract and stuck on a mediocre team.

Either way, the Mariners don’t need to force anything right now to be competitive come 2015. In Major League Baseball, that’s a powerful position to be in.

Alex Rios may be off the board, but the Mariners certainly aren’t out of options to improve the outfield in hopes of competing for a World Series in 2015.