During the Blue Jays' workout at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi reiterated that the team will not continue negotiations with Rios on a new deal once the season begins. If Rios doesn't agree to the terms of the six-year, $65 million proposal prior to Monday's game against the Yankees, the Jays will postpone the process until next offseason.
"We're just trying to iron some things out," Ricciardi said. "It will be done one way or another -- that's why we put a deadline on it."
Rios, 27, is currently signed to a one-year deal worth $4.835 million for the 2008 season, and he's not eligible to become a free agent until after the '10 campaign. The proposed contract, which would begin with the 2009 season, runs through '14 and includes an option for '15 that could raise the deal's worth to nearly $80 million.
Over the offseason and throughout Spring Training, the Blue Jays had also considered a contract extension for second baseman Aaron Hill. On Saturday, Ricciardi said that contract talks with Hill -- eligible for free agency after the 2011 season -- would be put off until next winter.
"Yeah, I think that will be something we table in the offseason," said Ricciardi, referring to the negotiations with Hill.
Ricciardi remained "cautiously optimistic" that the club could still work out a deal with Rios, though.
Last season, Rios hit .297 with 24 home runs and 85 RBIs in 161 games and was named to his second American League All-Star team. The 26-year-old Hill hit .291 with 17 homers, 47 doubles and 78 RBIs in 160 games for the Blue Jays last season.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.