Alex Rios goes from last place to a pennant chase while the White Sox take another step in their rebuilding process.
The 32-year-old outfielder was traded to the Texas Rangers on Friday afternoon for cash and a player to be named later, a deal announced as the first game of a day-night doubleheader with Minnesota got under way.
"It was a tough decision, tough move to trade a quality player like Alex but it is a step in the process of retooling this club," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said.
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Rios talked outside the White Sox clubhouse as his equipment and personal effects were loaded onto a cart Friday afternoon. He hoped to arrive with his new team on Saturday.
"For myself, I'm going to a team that's fighting for a playoff spot and I believe it's going to be refreshing," said Rios, who was claimed by the Rangers on waivers earlier this week. "It was a great ride (in Chicago) and I enjoyed my whole time here. I had many great moments here and I'm going to miss this place."
Texas enters Friday's action in a virtual tie with Oakland atop the American League West.
The right-handed hitting Rios joined the White Sox in 2005. This season he was hitting .277 through 109 games with 12 home runs and 55 RBIs.
The trade was the subject of speculation since mid-week. He politely declined to talk about his status when entering the clubhouse at mid-morning Friday.
Rios originally set to start Friday's first game but was pulled and the lineup reworked minutes before the first pitch.
"The trade came down to probably to 15 minutes before the deadline as we were going back and forth with Texas on various ideas," said Hahn. It's difficult to let a player like Alex Rios go. He, in my opinion, has been outstanding for us both on and off the field in his stay in Chicago. A pure class act."
The trade leaves an opening for outfielder and top prospect Avasail Garcia to move from Triple-A Charlotte to the parent club.
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"That's a big consideration for us as we start to retool this club and bring in that next group of guys and get them going on their Major League career and development," Hahn said."
The White Sox executive said he hoped Garcia could arrive in time to be available for Friday's second game, though it doesn't appear Garcia will start.
A 22-year-old Venezuelan, Garcia was acquired on July 30 as part of a three-team trade with Boston and Detroit. He's hit .379 with seven doubles, four triples, seven home runs and 36 RBI combined this season with Charlotte, Triple-A Toledo and Class-A Lakeland.
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He was a .269 hitter with three home runs and 13 RBI through 53 games with the Tigers between 2012-13. Baseball America had ranked Garcia the No. 2 prospect in the Detroit organization.
Hahn said he couldn't identify the other player in the transaction, but said he would also make an impact.
"We also acquired a player -- obviously a player to be named later," he said. "We think he's going to play a role on this club and is going to have some upside as well."