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BILL SHAIKIN / DOWN THE LINE

White Sox pay for expensive error in claiming Rios

After claiming the outfielder off of waivers last month, Rios has slumping for Chicago. He will make $61 million total through 2014.

September 13, 2009|Bill Shaikin

No bang for a lot of bucks

The Dodgers surely made a poor investment in Andruw Jones, but the Chicago White Sox might have made a far more expensive mistake with Alex Rios.

The White Sox claimed him off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays one month ago, so we asked Chicago Manager Ozzie Guillen what he has seen.

"A lot of outs," Guillen said.

Rios is batting .144 for Chicago, with one home run, one walk and 23 strikeouts in 90 at-bats.

Rios, 28, was a two-time All-Star in Toronto, and the White Sox bet his days of hitting for average and power were not finished. They had seen enough of zero-offense center fielders in Brian Anderson, Jerry Owens and Dewayne Wise.

Guillen has Rios hitting ninth in the batting order, trying to relieve the enormous pressure he says Rios has put on himself. But, while the Dodgers spent $36 million on Jones, the White Sox owe Rios $61 million, through 2014.

They'll pay Rios $10 million next year, and not to bat ninth.

"The only $5 million guy hitting ninth was me," Guillen said. "That [guy] is making $10, $12, $14 million. . . . Next year, if we've got Rios batting ninth, we're in deep [trouble]."

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A Giant in a new league

Juan Uribe had three 20-homer seasons as a middle infielder for the White Sox, and now he is the third baseman for the San Francisco Giants. That's an upgrade on offense for the Giants, with Pablo Sandoval moving to first base and Ryan Garko moving to the bench.

As the Giants chase the Dodgers and Colorado Rockies in the National League West, Uribe bats after Sandoval and Bengie Molina in the lineup, which illustrates to Guillen the difference between the leagues.

"Uribe is batting fifth, and the team is in the pennant race," Guillen said. "Uribe was ninth on this club because we didn't have 10 players."

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A curious day in Mannywood

Little wonder why the Dodgers picked Wednesday as the day to give away the latest batch of Manny Ramirez bobblehead dolls, this one featuring Ramirez taking a curtain call. The last-place Pittsburgh Pirates are in town, and it's a day game even though kids are back in school, so the Dodgers have plenty of seats for sale.

The Dodgers already had agreed to celebrate Recovery Month on Wednesday, with an on-field ceremony and 1,600 fans in attendance to honor those in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction.

Think about it: Recovering drug addicts celebrating their big day at the ballpark with the bobblehead doll of a guy that served a drug suspension this season and failed a drug test six years ago.

The Dodgers should have handed out the bobbleheads some other day. That's a no-brainer.

But think about this too: Steroid fatigue has spread so widely through America that Recovery Month planners raised no objection to the Ramirez bobblehead giveaway on their day. In fact, the news release promoting the event mentions the giveaway before the on-field ceremony.

"We're working with the Dodgers to celebrate and support recovery, irrespective of any one player's past behavior," Recovery Month official Candy Cargill-Fuller told us. "Please don't let that player detract from the importance of supporting those who are in recovery."

-- Bill Shaikin

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