Alexis Israel Ríos (born February 18, 1981) is a Puerto Rican professional baseball right fielder who is a free agent. He has played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, and Kansas City Royals. A World Series champion with the Royals in 2015 over the New York Mets, Rios is also a two-time MLB All-Star selection. In 2013, he hit for the cycle and achieved six hits in one game. In 2007, he was a Fielding Bible Award winner for right fielders. He is a three-time World Baseball Classic participant with Puerto Rico.
Ríos was drafted in the first round (19th overall) by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1999 MLB draft. A top prospect in the Blue Jays organization for several years, Ríos had considerable success in the organization's minor league system. In 2003 he hit .352 with 11 home runs and 82 RBIs en route to winning the Double-A Eastern League Most Valuable Player award. Ríos was promoted to Triple-A Syracuse for the start of the 2004 season and made the jump to the big leagues shortly thereafter.
Toronto Blue Jays
He finished his rookie season with Toronto hitting .286 with one home run, 55 runs and 28 RBI in 111 games.
After his participation with the Puerto Rican team in the World Baseball Classic, Ríos began to show why the Blue Jays valued him so highly in his break-out 2006 season. By June 6, 2006, Ríos was 1st in the league in batting average (among qualified batters) with a .359 average, along with 11 home runs — a new personal best only 60 games into the 2006 season, and 43 RBIs. He then had his first multi-home run game on June 12, 2006, facing the Baltimore Orioles at the Rogers Centre. He was often given as an example of what is known in baseball as a "five-tool player".
In recognition of his outstanding third season in the majors, the young outfielder was rewarded with a spot as a reserve on the American League All-Star Team. While Ríos did not play in the game due to a staph infection in his leg he was invited to attend the All Star Game festivities during the July 10 weekend at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
Alex said in an interview that he fouled a ball off his foot which resulted in a staph infection and a hospitalization, seriously depleting his strength, and affecting his stats after the 2006 All Star Game.
On February 2, 2007 the Blue Jays and Ríos agreed to a 1-year, $2.535 million contract—meaning that, for at least the next year, the two parties will avoid the process of salary arbitration. Ríos' performance earned him a spot as a reserve on the American League All-Star team and he also agreed to participate in the 2007 State Farm Home Run Derby. He led all competitors by hitting 19 home runs throughout the contest, but the final round was won by Vladimir Guerrero of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Ríos fielded the last out in the All-Star game. He led the team in all offensive categories during the first half of the season but slumped after the All-Star Break, with his hitting average settling to slightly below .300, and was overtaken by teammate Frank Thomas as HR and RBI leader . In 2007, he had the lowest range factor of all major league right fielders, 1.82. Ríos was honored with a Fielding Bible Award as the best fielding right fielder in MLB. He was voted the Blue Jays Player of the Year.
Rios signed a seven-year contract with the Blue Jays in April 2008 for a guaranteed amount of $69,835,000: $5.9 million in 2009, $9.7 million in 2010, $12 million each in 2011 and 2012 and $12.5 million each in 2013 and 2014. He finished the 2008 season with a slight statistical decline: .291 average, 15 home runs, 32 stolen bases, and 79 runs batted in. The home run total tied him with Lyle Overbay for the Blue Jays' second most home runs that season (only Vernon Wells had more with 20). Ríos also set a career high in home runs after the All-Star Break that year.
On June 4 against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Ríos struck out in all five of his plate appearances, also known as the platinum sombrero, in a 6–5 loss to the Angels at Rogers Centre. Later that day Ríos was videotaped cursing a heckling fan after he walked past a child seeking an autograph while leaving a fundraising gala for the Jays Care Foundation. Ríos has since publicly apologized for the incident.
The Toronto Blue Jays placed Rios on waivers on August 7, 2009. On August 10, 2009, Rios was officially claimed off waivers by the Chicago White Sox.
Chicago White Sox
After being claimed off of waivers by the Chicago White Sox on August 10, Rios batted .199, with 3 home runs, 9 RBI and a .296 on-base percentage in 146 at bats over 41 games.
Rios batted .284, with 21 home runs, 88 RBI and a .334 on-base percentage for the White Sox in 2010.
On July 9, 2013, Rios collected 6 hits in a game (tied AL record) in an 11-4 win over the Tigers. Ríos was the starting right fielder for 2013 until his trade. After the trade, Jordan Danks and Avisail García took over. In 599 games over 5 years for Chicago, he hit .269/.310/.430 with 74 HR, 287 RBI, and 99 SB.
On August 8, 2013, Rios was claimed off waivers by the Texas Rangers, and was traded to them on August 9 for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Leury Garcia was announced as the player to be named later on August 11. He became the team's starting right fielder, replacing the suspended Nelson Cruz. Rios hit for the cycle against the Houston Astros on September 23, 2013. In all of 2013, Ríos hit .278/.324/.432 with 18 HR, 81 RBI and 42 SB. The Rangers declined Ríos' option for the 2015 season.
Kansas City Royals
Ríos signed a one-year contract with the Kansas City Royals on December 19, 2014, worth $9.5 million. The contract includes an option for the 2016 season.
In his Royals debut, Rios hit a 3-run home run in a Royals win to cap off a three-hit game. For the 2015 season, Rios hit .255 with 4 home runs and 32 RBIs while appearing in 105 games. While he had a down year with Kansas City, Rios had many notable moments in the 2015 MLB Playoffs. In Game 4 of the 2015 American League Division Series, Rios hit a leadoff single in the top of the eighth inning, sparking a five run inning that erased a four run deficit and forced a Game 5 of the series. In Game 5, Rios hit a two RBI double in the bottom of the fifth inning, driving in what proved to be the winning runs of the game. Rios was just as pivotal in the 2015 American League Championship Series, batting .368 with a homer and three runs batted in. At the end of the season, the Kansas City Royals won the World Series, giving Rios his first championship ring.
2013 World Baseball Classic
Rios participated in the 2013 World Baseball Classic playing for Puerto Rico. Although Rios slumped for most of the tournament, he hit a clutch 2-run home run against Japan in the semifinals and handed Puerto Rico its first WBC Finals appearance. They would go on to be defeated by Dominican Republic 3-0 in the finals.