Rios claimed by Rangers, Leesman debuting, Wells leaving

Come February, a day as fraught as Thursday was with burning White Sox news will be worth its weight in….sigh, this is not the right metaphor to use to discuss a day.

Regardless, a lot happened for a last-place team that’s playing out the post-deadline string.

Alex Rios, along with possibly every major leaguer in existence, was placed on waivers after the non-waiver trade deadline expired. Also, like several other, not-that-special baseball players, Rios had a claim put in on him by another team. Most guys get pulled back after something like this. In hyper-rare conditions, as you might recall with Rios, players are simply waived through and the claiming team absorbs their full contract, but this is rare event that hardly ever happens. If it happens to Rios twice in life, he’ll never hear the end of it.

What the Sox are interested in negotiating a trade with the claiming team and getting player value in return, so sayeth…every White Sox beat, but let’s go with Dan Hayes since he was so active all day. 

That can be a problematic approach in waiver season with a piece as large as Alex Rios, since the White Sox can only negotiate with the team that wins the claim. Which is why everyone was so excited when The Texas Rangers won the claim for Rios, since they had the need for a right fielder and the loaded farm system that reportedly almost made them a trade partner before the deadline.

/cue cold water

From T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com:

The Rangers have until tomorrow to complete a trade for Rios, but sources say a deal is not likely. The two sides had multiple discussions before the non-waiver trade deadline but could not a agree on a deal. The White Sox were asking for Pitcher Martin Perez, Pitcher Luke Jackson and Infielder Rougned Odor – the Rangers were not interested in parting with those players for Rios.

Let it never be said that Rick Hahn didn’t flood the market with reports of him hard-bargaining the hell out of the league.

/cue volley of ice cubes shot out of a pellet gun

With the Rangers low-balling, or at least not yielding to the grandiose demands reportedly being made by the Sox for a player the Rangers reportedly don’t even care that much about, the question du jour is whether Hahn should be willing to just dump Rios’ salary and move on.

Theoretically, cash savings could be used to take Rick’s pick of the flawed 1B/DH free agent class (Kendrys Morales‘ round mounds, Mike Napoli‘s degenarative hip and ability to make contact and post-knee surgery Corey Hart) to replace Paul Konerko, but that’s the sort of thing that should be affordable already with all the money they were so proud about getting Boston to eat.

Full coffers could also protect against a case of cheapskates when their top-5 draft pick come up next June, but unless they’re planning a goofy bid for Robinson Cano, rooting for cash savings feels like rooting to enable the Sox’ conservatism. Also, the stance that the Rangers shouldn’t have to offer anything except cash for Rios is patently ridiculous. They have far too much low-level positional talent for no middle ground to be reached.

That the Sox probably have no real plans of punting 2014 saps their urgency in moving Rios at all, making a straight salary dump even more unlikely. If they can find use for anyone in 2014, they can probably find use for Rios.

The Leesman nears

For a guy whose Friday night debut will inevitably be described as a look at the future, Charlie Leesman’s recent path belies such a designation, as does his pedigree.

The tall 26 year-old left-hander blew out his left ACL covering first in the Triple-A playoffs last season, which would be enough of a setback on its own.Yet while he was rehabbing in extended Spring Training this April, the Sox decided they needed his spot on the 40-man roster and designated Leesman for assignment. That superficially cold shoulder likely came with an understanding of what it would take for him to return, since when the Rangers claimed Leesman off waivers, he refused his assignment to their Triple-A team and returned to Charlotte on minor league deal.

When he’s safely entrenched in his natural habitat of a White Sox affiliate starting rotation, Leesman is a guy who gets called “tall and strong” or “physical” in his loving scouting reports and “fleshy” in the less nice ones. While he gets good results (2.47 ERA in Triple-A last season and 3.47 so far this year) his inability to blow hitters away nor avoid walks particularly well is usually a combination that pushes eyes aside. However, his sinker-change setup is considered to be surprisingly effective and if any organization could make this guy stick with that small of a toolbox, it’s this one.

He’s not the next cog in an elite rotation, but he could suck up starts that might go to Dylan Axelrod otherwise.

Bye, Casper Wells

Speaking earlier of guys who get claimed off waivers and have their original team respond with “Ok…bye,” Casper Wells is a Philadelphia Phillie now; it’s his fifth team of the season.

As much as Wells’ entire career and certainly this season has been marked by him never getting a sustained chance to prove himself, there’s no argument for why the White Sox should have bothered to stop him from continuing on his endlessly winding road.

By pitching a scoreless inning and scaling the wall to preserve a late lead, he crafted more memorable moments than the average fifth outfielder, but showed so little of the power (.015 ISO) and lefty-mashing skills he was supposed to bring at the bare minimum, that it’s no wonder he only managed to nab 71 plate appearances for one of the league’s worst offenses.

Best of luck to him on his noble pursuit to steal playing time from Delmon Young.

 

Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan

Topics: Alex Rios, Charlie Leesman, Chicago White Sox

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