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MLB Rumors: Indians interested in Alex Rios

Good to have a backup plan.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Indians have checked in on free agent outfielder Alex Rios, according to Jon Heyman.

Rios, a 33-year-old right-handed hitter, had a mediocre 2014, batting .280/.311/.398 with only 4 home runs in 521 plate appearances, and posting probably the worst base running numbers of his career, and seeing a small decline in his defense. Put like that, he doesn't sound like someone worth anything like the 2 years, $20 million or so it'll probably take to sign him.

On the other hand, during 2012 and 2013 he totaled 43 home runs and 65 stolen bases, and he was hit .305/.333/.440 during the first half last season, before being slowed by injuries to his ankle and thumb after the All-Star break. If you remove the last two and a half months of 2014, he's been a well above average hitter and good base runner, worth something like 3 to 3.5 WAR a season. If you think he can rebound back to what he was doing before the All-Star break last season, he'd certainly be worth $10 million a year for a couple seasons.

The Indians and A's are reportedly in serious trade discussions on a deal that would bring Brandon Moss to Cleveland, (with Joe Wendle having been mentioned as someone the A's are after) and there's no way the Tribe will be adding both Rios and Moss, so Rios has to be viewed as a backup plan for the possibility of those trade talks with Oakland falling through.

Moss will likely be a little cheaper over the next two years, and will likely be the better player. Whether he'll be enough better to be worth the added cost of a good prospect or two is up for debate.