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The Chicago White Sox outfielder would certainly add a nice element to the Pirates lineup, as he's hitting .273 with 12 home runs, 49 RBI, 54 runs scored and 22 stolen bases.
But will he be a Pirate before today's trade deadline?
Let's track this rumor.
Yesterday, just after noon ET, it looked as though the Pirates and White Sox were close to finalizing a deal, as David Kaplan of CSN Chicago tweeted:
Sounds like White Sox and Pirates are getting close on a deal for Alex Rios. Cash being worked on. Not sure if they can find a middle ground— David Kaplan (@thekapman) July 30, 2013
But just an hour and a half later, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweeted that the two teams weren't close at all in negotiations:
rios makes sense for #pirates. but deal is not close at this time, i hear.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 30, 2013
What to believe?
By 6 p.m., it appeared any potential deal between the two teams had lost serious momentum, per Scott Merkin of MLB.com:
Heard on a couple of fronts that Pirates' interest in Rios has lost steam— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) July 30, 2013
But the Pirates did send a scout to the White Sox game on Tuesday evening, according to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, perhaps indicating that something was still in the works:
Meanwhile, right fielder Alex Rios—who was watched by a Pirates scout Tuesday night—left in the eighth inning after fouling a pitch off the top of his left foot. The injury was diagnosed as a bruise after the White Sox's 7-4 loss to the Indians.
Gonzales had more on any potential dealings:
Rios, who will earn about $17 million through 2014, seems OK with his fate once the trading deadline passes.
"If it's going to make a team better, you have to let it happen," Rios said. "That's my attitude right now. If it's going to happen, it's going to happen. If not, I'll stay put, but whatever."
Money also could be an issue with Rios. The Sox—led by executive vice president Ken Williams—have scouted the Pirates' deep farm system thoroughly.
And late on Tuesday evening, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports noted that the Pirates were still in on Rios, but could be interested in making a move for a different player altogether:
Pirates have no plans to move Class A standout Tyler Glasnow. Still plenty in system to get Bud Norris. Alex Rios remains a target as well.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 31, 2013
So where do we stand on Wednesday?
As we get ready for deadline day, White Sox deal for Avisail Garcia sets stage for them to trade Alex Rios - but don't need to do it today— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 31, 2013
I'm sure most Pirates fans are hoping that this not only gets done, but it gets done today rather than extending into the waiver period.
The question is, how much should the Pirates give up for Rios? How much better will Rios make the team?
Well, the answer to the first question is murky, hence the belabored negotiations. But per the latter inquiry, he would certainly improve the National League Central leaders.
The Pirates are 21st in runs scored, 16th in home runs and 22nd in batting average. The pitching has been superb, but bolstering the lineup would be a big help as the team tries to snap its 20-year postseason drought.
In other words, the Pirates shouldn't be afraid to slightly overpay for Rios. After 20 years of fishing trips and mornings spent on the golf course in October, the time to win is now, and Rios would certainly help in that cause.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets never get stuck in a postseason drought, let alone one that lasts for 20 years.