The trade deadline is looming, and the Yankees still haven't found a fourth outfielder. Carlos Beltran is reportedly close to being able to return to the field, but with the bone spur still in his elbow, it's possible that his arm could be easily aggravated. He's not an ideal backup plan. Neither is Ichiro Suzuki, who has been scuffling at the plate for the latter half of the month, with just three hits over his last 37 plate appearances, including his first home run of the season. Since Ichiro played better during the first half of the season when he got more rest, and there are questions marks about Beltran's ability to play the field, it makes sense to add an outfielder to the team. Taking into account the fact the offense has struggled mightily, there's no question as to why the Yankees are one of the teams interested in Alex Rios.
Just past the halfway point, Rios is hitting .299/.328/.428 with 101 wRC+. He's only hit four home runs this season, which is down quite a bit from his career average, but he's still having a decent season. He also has 16 SB and has been worth 0.8 fWAR. In terms of his contract, he's owed $12.5 million in 2014, then he has a $13.5 million option for next season, with a $1 million buyout.
Though he recently missed time with a sprained ankle, he has returned to the lineup, so there shouldn't be any injury concerns. The Yankees start a three-game series in Texas today, which could make it the perfect time for him to join the team before the trade deadline on Thursday. The Yankees are on Rios' no-trade list, but that doesn't mean he absolutely cannot be traded to the team. It just means that he would have to agree to it. Stranger things have happened.
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