|Rios earns YouTube clip|
Written by At Home Plate Staff (Contact & Archive) on June 07, 2009
Alex Rios probably didn't endear himself to Blue Jays fans after this video hit YouTube. (Warning: The language used in this video may be offensive to some.)
Athletes are sitting ducks for fans who want to egg them on. Catch a baseball player after an 0-for-5 performance, and he's likely to still be stewing. That's when he'll say something he'll regret, which is probably how Rios feels now.
And Steve Simmons writes Rios is done with the Blue Jays.
Alex Rios has turned into a $10-million embarrassment for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Never mind that he plays the outfield with a not-so-reckless indifference. Never mind that he has taken his five-tool gifts and squandered them with his lack of passion and apathy. Never mind that the hitting numbers aren't anywhere near where they are supposed to be.
All that pales when compared with his foolish act of the other night, exchanging swear words with a fan after turning down an autograph request from a kid, at a charity event no less. Available in today's technology for all to see on YouTube.
Whether management will see it this way or not, Rios essentially is done as a Blue Jay. Failing on the field can be accepted. Failing off the field reflects a certain lack of character. All the apologies in the world may not be able to correct that.
Simmons here is a perfect example of the self-righteous media at its worst. Why should this incident end Rios' career with the Blue Jays? He made one simple mistake, allowed a fan to goad him into an argument. Apparently, that's grounds for a team to release a player it has decided to build around.
No, Simmons is wrong here. He's hoping that athletes are perfect, that having money will somehow make them perfect in their actions and their words. But that isn't how the world works. Instead, Simmons is just using this opportunity to prey upon Rios. I sure Simmons has said and done things much worse than what Rios did, but you better believe he's going to use this to fill column space.
Anyway, we shouldn't expect our athletes to be perfect. They are going to be imperfect and human no matter how much money they make. They're going to take offense to someone calling them a bum after they've had a poor performance. It's definitely not right to curse someone out, but it's also not right to expect them to be perfect.
As for Rios' contract with the Blue Jays, that was a little silly. He signed a six-year, $64 million extension in April of 2008. Rios was coming off a .297/.354/.498 season with 24 homers and 85 RBIs. Not a bad season.
But if you took a look at his minor league numbers, you'd see Rios wasn't exactly that type of player. In 556 games, he put together a .293/.335/.401 batting line. In the majors, Rios has a line of .286/.337/.453. For a team without much money, you don't give $10 million AAV to somebody like that. (You also don't give Vernon Wells superstar-type money, but that's a different blog post.)
Plus, Rios was entering his Age 27 season in 2008. That is widely considered a player's prime year. If you think Rios is going to blossom from his '07 numbers because of his age, you give him big-time money. If you don't -- and the Blue Jays shouldn't have because Rios was basically in his prime; now he's just declining -- you try to trade him while his value is high (i.e. buy low, sell high) or wail until he's a free agent and nab a couple of draft picks off him.
But, hey, that's just me, a silly sportswriter. And hopefully not one of those grandstanding ones.