After two injury-plagued years, Edwin Ríos will look for a rebound in 2023, but will do so with a new team. The slugger signed a one-year deal with the Cubs on Friday on the eve of position players reporting to spring training, per Maddie Lee of the Chicago Sun Times.
Ríos’ deal with Chicago is worth $1 million guaranteed, per Kiley McDaniel at ESPN.
Ríos hit .219/.299/.492 with a 112 wRC+ and 20 home runs in 291 plate appearances in four seasons with the Dodgers, though he missed significant time in each of the last two seasons. He had right shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum in May 2021 that knocked him out for the final five months of the season, and in 2022 he spent two and a half months on the injured list with a right hamstring tear.
At the time Ríos landed on the injured list last season in June, he was second on the Dodgers with seven home runs despite limited playing time. But by the time he was ready to return, he fell down the depth chart, and with the team committed to rookie Miguel Vargas down the stretch, there was no room on the major league roster for Ríos, who was not called back up to Los Angeles.
The Dodgers did not tender Ríos a contract on November 18, making him a free agent. With left-handed regulars Freddie Freeman and Max Muncy occupying the bulk of the time at the corner infield spots, along with the Dodgers wanting more playing time for the right-handed Vargas, Ríos would have had a tough time getting into games in 2023, especially with limited defensive versatility relative to his peers. Factor in James Outman and with Michael Busch added to the 40-man roster in November, Ríos fell further down the depth chart among left-handed hitters.
“It was just fit right now for him,” Dodgers president Andrew Friedman said after Ríos was non-tendered. “Helping get into a spot where he can get more opportunity, I think that was really important to him at his age.”
Fellow non-tendered Dodger Cody Bellinger also signed with the Cubs, doing so in December.
Ríos, who was drafted by the Dodgers out of Florida International in the sixth round in 2015, turns 29 in April. He has three years, three days of major league service time, so if things work out in Chicago he could be a Cub for multiple years after this season.