Monday, August 10, 2009

Big bucks on the South Side

First it was Jake Peavy. Now it's Alex Rios.

The Chicago White Sox on Monday landed a very pricey outfielder on a long term deal — as in $59.7 million over the next five years. They got Rios for nothing — or more precisely, the Toronto Blue Jays handed his contract off and figured they were better off with the (almost) $12 million a year.

This follows the Sox's shipping four pitching prospects to San Diego just before the trading deadline for the crippled Peavy, who is to be paid $48 million for 2010-12 with a $22 million option(and $4 million buyout) for 2013.

Rios has been a right fielder for most of his tenure in Toronto, but that was largely because the Jays had Vernon Wells in center. When Wells was injured — and he has missed considerable time the past four seasons — Rios generally shifted to center. And that should be what he does for the Sox, although Ozzie Gullen does seem to like Scott Podsednik more than I think is warranted.

The Peavy and Rios moves mark major financial commitments down the road. One assumes the Sox will let Jim Thome and Jermaine Dye walk after this season, but still ... assuming that the White Sox have a $100 million payroll each of the next three years, Peavy and Rios figure to account for almost 25 percent of it.

Most organizations treasure financial flexibility. The White Sox just burned much of theirs.

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