Before snatching Michael Cuddyer from the Colorado Rockies, Alex Rios looked like a prime buy-low candidate to assume a corner outfield spot for the Mets. A stout source of power and speed throughout his MLB tenure, the 33-year-old faltered during a contract season, hitting four home runs with a .398 slugging percentage for the Texas Rangers in 2014.
Throw in his mediocre 4.4 walk percentage, and Rios was never a perfect answer to New York’s offensive woes. Even before signing Cuddyer, Rios’s deteriorating on-base percentage probably would have scared the Mets away. After getting on at a .334 clip in 2012, the mark slipped to .324 in 2013 and .311 in 2014. With a .323 career on-base percentage, he never made a major dent in that regard.
Yet the opportunity to gamble on someone with a 4.2 fWAR in 2012 and 3.1 fWAR in 2013 felt like an endeavor right up Sandy Alderson’s alley. Think Chris Young with better contact but worse defense. If his market significantly fizzled, Rios would make a great fourth outfielder to play against lefties with Cuddyer spelling Lucas Duda at first. Over his career, Rios boasts a .290/.334/.466 line against southpaws. But it's hard to imagine him not landing an everyday gig.
Rios has shown an ability to bounce back from down years before, posting an .850 OPS and a career-high 126 wRC+ directly after hitting .227/.265/.348 in 2011. Given his past success, he probably won’t become nearly enough of a bargain for New York to remain a candidate. FanGraphs’ crowdsourcers project a two-year, $20-million deal for Rios, well outside the price range for a platoon player.