Chicago Cubs Rumors: Edwin Rios should be considered
With the recent non-tender deadline, Chicago Cubs fans had all eyes on former MVP Cody Bellinger as a target to pursue once he became a free agent. We've previously discussed all the reasons he's a perfect fit on the North Side, but he wasn't the only interesting Dodger left without a home on Friday. Slugging lefty third baseman Edwin Rios was also non-tendered thanks to L.A's roster crunch and the Cubs should definitely keep an eye on him.
Rios has certainly had his warts with the Dodgers. Across his first four seasons in the league, injuries and a lack of open spots have repeatedly limited him to only 112 games since debuting in 2019. He most recently suffered a hamstring that cut his season short in 2022, his second such injury in the past three years. Even beyond the injuries, he's lacked in OBP with only a .299 mark and his last two seasons have some warning signs attached, especially after he underwent shoulder surgery in 2021.
The catch, however, is that whenever he's been fully healthy, Rios has looked very promising at the plate. Across those 112 games, Rios recorded a 112 wRC+ powered largely by a .492 SLG. He also has a respectable 20 home runs in that time. On top of that, he's managed to find success at every level of the minors, albeit with some scary strikeout numbers along the way. Before his promotion, he was slashing .270/.340/.575 at Triple-A with a staggering 34.5% strikeout percentage.
It's hard to ignore that raw power though. He comes in with a 70-grade power and frequently posted barrel rates and hard-hit rates above the major league average per Statcast. Although it was a small sample, he really seemed to be employing that power well in his limited time too. At the very least, he profiles similarly to Patrick Wisdom as a low batting average hitter who destroys the ball enough to have value.
Edwin Rios could help a Chicago Cubs team in need of left-handed thump
Rios strikes me as a prime candidate to get better with more playing time and, crucially, health. He could easily share time with Wisdom at third and take at-bats from the DH position as well. Even if the Cubs signed Jose Abreu or another first baseman, he could also make the occasional spot start at first too. His defense hasn't rated well in the few games he's played, but for a Cubs team that desperately needs power from the left side, this is one way to address that.
Adding Rios could also allow the Cubs to get the best out of Wisdom too. Last year, he didn't do quite as well as many hoped in an everyday role with only a 104 wRC+ to show for it. He still mashed lefties to the tune of a 147 wRC+ though. Pair that with Rios, who's had closer to neutral splits in the majors in a small sample and clobbered righties in the minors, and it's not a bad experiment to run at third, especially if paired with other moves.
The shoulder and hamstring injuries are a little scary and the Cubs might not like another third baseman with major swing and miss to his game. For some depth that can also address the lack of power, however, Rios is an intriguing option.