Today, MLB Trade Rumors suggested the White Sox may look to deal for a center fielder at the trade deadline. My response: no.
Alex Rios, who is signed through 2014, is hitting .221/.272/.329 on the season after a fine bounceback 2010. He was pulled from last night's game because manager Ozzie Guillen didn't like the way Rios was running the bases. His replacement Brent Lillibridge could start taking away at-bats, though Lillibridge's own negligence might have cost Chicago that particular game. The Sox have Jordan Danks (.259/.335/.461) at Triple-A. -- MLB Trade Rumors
Beerleaguer: To be fair, the post is entitled "Contenders In Need Of A Center Field Upgrade." Obviously, the White Sox need a center field upgrade given Alex Rios' -0.2 WAR. But suggesting the Sox could even consider trading for an outfielder is negligent analysis that, unfortunately, could give some people the wrong idea.
There are two scenarios in which the White Sox could deal for a center fielder before the trade deadline. The first is if they acquire a backup outfielder who is making close to the league minimum. The second is if they find a taker for Rios' bloated contract. The latter is highly unlikely, so if a deal for an outfielder is made, it would be for a backup. Jordan Danks plays fine defense, and although his offensive skills are questionable, he could do just fine if the Sox felt inclined to bring in a different backup outfielder.
Although replacing Brent Lillibridge with Danks is just as unlikely as the Sox making a trade for a center fielder at the deadline. Lillibridge's defense has been great outside of yesterday's game-ending play, and while his hitting has seriously regressed, his defensive versatility and speed are good enough to keep him on the roster.
Because the Mets are no longer run by Omar Minaya, there isn't a team out there dumb enough to acquire Rios and all the roughly $44 million he's owed through 2014 (assuming his option isn't picked up, which at this rate, it will be declined with gusto). And the Sox can't justify benching Rios while he's making $12 million for 2011. He's like Adam Dunn—the Sox have to wait out his struggles in the hope he rebounds in the second half.
Although, unlike Dunn, Rios has a history of doing this. He's much more likely to end up with an awful stat line for 2011 than Dunn. Rios isn't going anywhere—not even to the bench—so don't read into any speculation about a new center fielder coming to the Sox.