Alex Rios: When Is a "Financial Dump" Not a Financial Dump?

Josh LevittSenior Analyst IAugust 11, 2009

NEW YORK - JULY 06:  Alex Rios #15 of the Toronto Blue Jays bats against the New York Yankees on July 6, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Apparently trading away a player who is owed more than $60 million dollars over the next five years for nothing, is not a financial dump.

That is, according to Toronto Blue Jays' general manager J.P. Ricciardi. Ricciardi said the move was not, "a financial dump," but acknowledged that Toronto needs, "more financial flexibility."

But of course, we all know that money was the sole reason why this deal was made. Alex Rios is not a bad player, but he's struggled this year to the point where Toronto could not justify having him long term. There's always the chance that Rios rediscovers his swing and reaches his ability, but that risk was simply too high for the Blue Jays.

In a way, you have to feel for the Blue Jays.

Here is a club that has been stuck in neutral for so long in large part because of the division they play in and it seems that no matter what they do, it's never enough. This is a franchise that is trying to compete with the heavyweights of the American League, but simply cannot afford spend the money needed.

So what should the Jays do with this money?

The popular idea seems to be to spend money in various areas to give the Jays a realistic chance to compete in 2010 or just use the savings to throw a big money offer at Roy Halladay. I'm guessing that Ricciardi needs the Jays to compete in 2010 for him to keep his job, so even though I would love to see the Jays undergo a full rebuilding effort, I seriously doubt that will happen.

And the one thing we all need to remember is that this team is not that bad. There are some very good young players here, but the team as a whole, is simply not up to par with the rest of the AL East.

Unfortunately for Blue Jays fans, I have a tough time believing that this franchise will be able to get over the hump unless they're able to move Vernon Wells or Wells suddenly becomes a productive player again.

While moving Rios is a helpful move, Wells' contract is the real franchise killer.