White Sox should let Rios walk away

Rangers' waiver claim gives GM Hahn opportunity to save money, expedite rebuild

The Rangers reportedly have claimed Alex Rios on waivers, and if it was my decision they would have him on their roster at some point this weekend.

Because these are revocable waivers, the White Sox can hang on to Rios if they don't get an offer for him that they like. No doubt general manager Rick Hahn is going to continue to ask for a significant prospect in exchange for Rios, as he did before the July 31 trade deadline when he reportedly was demanding the likes of pitchers Martin Perez and Luke Jackson or second baseman Rougned Odor.

Given the dire straits that Texas is in without Nelson Cruz, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels might blink and trade one of those guys. But let's say Daniels plays hardball with Hahn and is willing to only give up a fringe prospect or nothing at all.

Would the White Sox let the 32-year-old Rios walk away without any return beyond the $20,000 price for a waiver claim?

They should.

Hahn has been conservative in his first year as a general manager, and the conservative thing to do is hold on to Rios in the hope of trading him in the offseason or trying to have a bounce-back season in 2014 with him on the roster. But I'd say uncle.

As Commissioner Bud Selig would say, it's not unconstitutional to do the smart thing financially. That is clearly to cut ties with Rios.

He is owed $12.5 million next season and has about $4 million left on his salary this season. Toss in the $1 million buyout on his contract for 2015 and that's about $17.5 million that the White Sox can save letting Rios walk away.

This will make the fifth season that the White Sox have missed the playoffs with Rios since then-GM Ken Williams claimed him on waivers from the Blue Jays in 2009, and it's time to start giving his at-bats to someone who could be there when they become competitive again. Rios would make the Sox a little better the rest of this season and next but not enough to matter.

With Paul Konerko expected to retire after the season, the Sox could reduce their guaranteed commitments for 2014 to $48.25 million by letting Rios follow Jake Peavy and the sidelined Gavin Floyd off the roster.

Avisail Garcia would slide into Rio's spot on the roster, with Brandon Jacobs (acquired from the Red Sox for Matt Thornton) pushing for consideration. Factor in the salary flexibility to become a player for upcoming free agents Robinson Cano, Jacoby Ellsbury and Curtis Granderson, and without Rios, Hahn would be in a better position than he could have imagined a month ago.

•Sox outfielder Casper Wells was claimed off waivers by the Phillies, the Sox announced Thursday. No trade was involved in the waiver claim, and the Sox did not announce a corresponding roster move. Wells will join the Phillies this weekend.

progers@tribune.com

Twitter @ChiTribRogers

CHICAGO