Alex Rios begins his White Sox career this evening. No one (including Ozzie Guillen) seems quite sure where he is going to play, but play he will. My bet, he'll be lining up in his favourite and accustomed right-field spot.
The move by White Sox GM Kenny Williams is no short-term idea. It is well known that Jermaine Dye is out of a contract this November and at a whole seven years old than Rios, Williams is planning long-term.
Dye has been hugely influential during his five years in a Sox uniform, from his World Series MVP award to his 161 home runs to his superb highlight-reel fielding.
But there comes a time when the past must be let go and the new era must dawn. Alex Rios is it. He has a way to go power-wise to match what Jermaine can bring to the plate, but has shown excellent consistency the past few years with a batting average of .290 since 2006.
He also adds another vital element of speed to the Sox lineup, with 36 steals last year and 19 so far in 2009.
I am a White Sox fan. I love Jermaine Dye, he is one of my favourite players. But I write this as a realist who (thinks he) knows what Kenny Williams is doing. Planning for the future.
The addition of Jake Peavy and Rios will boost the 2009 pennant race, but will go a huge way to ensuring the Sox will be leading, rather than chasing, in the AL Central next year.