There were high hopes for Edwin Rios at the season’s start.
He was expected to play on a near every day basis, and contribute as one of the better power hitters on this talented roster. With the addition of the universal DH, there was much more flexibility to get Rios involved on a more consistent basis.
Through the first two months of the season, Rios was doing just that. He appeared in 27 games, and had an impressive seven home runs and 17 RBIs in just 86 at-bats. He was doing exactly what was asked of him, mostly as a DH, with a few games spent in the infield at first and third base.
Then, Rios went down with an injury, and he disappeared faster than a Coke Zero in the Dodgers Nation office refrigerator.
Rios went on the 60-day IL with a hamstring issue, and wasn’t fully healthy until August. In the middle of August, he was finally activated off the Injured List, and transferred to Triple-A for a rehab assignment.
The Dodgers had acquired Joey Gallo just a few weeks prior, making it a little difficult to find at-bats for a similar hitter in Rios. But still, after the rehab assignment, there was a good chance we’d see Rios in the majors battling for a spot on the postseason roster.
That never happened.
Rios has spent the last six weeks in Triple-A, never getting the opportunity to come up — not even when rosters expanded to 28.
So the question is why?
What happened to Rios that he so quickly lost his spot on the regular season roster?
Well for starters, the aforementioned acquisition of Gallo at the trade deadline clogged things up a bit. Rios and Gallo are very similar hitters — power-hitting lefties who struggle to hit for average — so there wasn’t exactly a need for both. And Gallo’s an above-average outfielder, which puts him ahead of Rios in terms of defense.
So then you have to look at Rios’ performance in the Minors.
In 48 games with the Oklahoma City Dodgers, Rios is hitting .259 with nine home runs and 39 RBIs. He’s struck out 66 times in his 189 at-bats. Not exactly impressive numbers for a guy who was hitting a home run every 11 at-bats or so through his first two months of this season. In the minors, he’s hitting a home run in every 21 at-bats.
— Bruce K (@Bnicklaus7) September 25, 2022
So that hasn’t helped him reach the bigs, especially with the emergence of Trayce Thompson taking up another roster spot, a guy who’s hit righties surprisingly well this season.
Then you have to look at the defense. Rios has played a ton of third base for OKC, and has a fielding percentage of just .881.
So you can’t really trust him to come through as the power hitter he’s supposed to be. And he’s not fielding particularly well. Plus, defensively, he’s extremely limited playing mostly first base and third base, positions the Dodgers have well covered.
So that answers why he never got a chance to come back and see if he could offer this team something they didn’t already have.
You could make the argument that Dave Roberts could have at least given him a shot, especially with the expanded rosters. And if the rosters expanded to 40 like they used to, he undoubtedly would have gotten some playing time.
But, he hasn’t impressed all that much since returning from the IL, and Roberts felt it was more useful to get guys like Gallo, James Outman and Miguel Vargas at-bats down the stretch, rather than the struggling Rios.
Rios’ time in Dodger Blue may be far from over. A good offseason could get him right back on track to be a contributor next year.
But as this season comes to a close, it’s safe to say we won’t be seeing Edwin Rios for the remainder of 2022.
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