Rios avoids arbitration

AlexriostallTORONTO — After enduring an offseason that churned him up considerably in that pesky rumor mill, Alex Rios is officially on the books with the Blue Jays for the 2008 season.

On Tuesday, Toronto avoided arbitration with Rios, setttling on a one-year deal worth $4.835 million. For those without enough fingers to do the math with at home, that’s a $2.3 million raise over what the right fielder took home in 2007, when he cashed in with the arbtration process for the first time.

I know, what about all that long-term contract talk? It’s still on. This one-year deal was simply a stage in the process to forego an arbitration hearing. This way, Rios’ contract for ’08 is done and the Jays and Rios’ reps can continue to discuss a multiyear deal during Spring Training.

If it doesn’t get done before Opening Day, it’ll probably have to wait until next offseason. Teams and players don’t generally delve into negotiations during a season if they don’t have to and Rios is controllable through 2010. So, if it ain’t done now, it’ll be a topic later on. Plenty of time.

Rios, who was seeking $5.6 million compared to Toronto’s offer of $4.535 million, gets a signing bonus of $3.5 million and has a base salary of $1.335 million. He’ll also make another $15K if he heads to the Bronx as an American League All-Star in July.

No feedback from GM J.P. Ricciardi for now, but us media types will surely get some comment from the man at tonight’s State of the Franchise event in Toronto. I’m looking forward to some of the questions/complaints that fans might offer up tonight at this townhall meeting-like gathering. There’s usually a few gems.

Stay tuned…



    It’s nice to have him back again, and not overpay for Rios since he’s still controllable. Hopefully this gives a chance for Rios to prove what his long-term value really is. I know he’s got good numbers and a great arm, but I’d like to see him get some better second half production before giving him a huge contract. The last two years he’s has explosive first halves with severe declines in the second half, especially regarding his power numbers. He needs to perform in both halves of the season to make himself indispensible to this club.

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