ARLINGTON -- The Rangers continue their search for a right-handed-hitting outfielder and have talked with the White Sox about Alex Rios. The White Sox went into Wednesday's game with a record of 39-58, the second worst in the American League.
Rios entered Wednesday hitting .278 with 12 home runs and 48 RBIs in 95 games this season. He has a .333 on-base percentage and a .442 slugging percentage but is hitting .308 and slugging .487 against left-handers.
Rios is signed through next season at $12.5 million, and his contract includes a club option of $13.5 million and a $1 million buyout for 2015. That means, unlike recently acquired right-hander Matt Garza, Rios would be more than just a rental player for the Rangers. He would be back in 2014, when the club is looking at the possibility of both Nelson Cruz and David Murphy having departed as free agents.
"It's a good thing when people want you to be part of a good thing," Rios told White Sox reporters. "But at the same time, you have mixed feelings. You have spent so much time in an organization, you know pretty much everybody and you have to start over in another place. It's tough. But it is what it is."
The Rangers have been looking for a right-handed bat for much of the season, and the search may have gained more momentum with the possibility of Cruz being suspended by Major League Baseball. Cruz is one of several players being investigated by the Commissioner's Office after being linked to Biogenesis, a Miami-area clinic that allegedly distributed performance-enhancing drugs to certain players. Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun was suspended on Monday for the rest of the season.
"We'd certainly like to have another bat," manager Ron Washington said. "We are left-handed heavy, so we would certainly like to add a right-handed bat. Who that will be, they're hunkered up there [in the front office], trying to figure out who they want."
The Rangers have also looked into the possibility of acquiring Giants outfielder Hunter Pence. He is signed only through this season, but the Giants remain on the periphery of the playoff race and have not decided if they'll be sellers by next Wednesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline. Pence is hitting .268 with 14 home runs and 50 RBIs in 100 games and .327 with a .592 slugging percentage against left-handers.
An alternative could be the Mariners' Kendrys Morales, a switch-hitter batting .282 with 15 home runs and 57 RBIs. He is primarily a designated hitter who can play first base, but the Rangers may need exactly that if Lance Berkman is sidelined for an extended period of time because of his physical problems.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less