That being the case, the Blue Jays and Rios came to an agreement on a limited trade clause that is included within the outfielder's six-year, $64 million pact, which was finalized this past Friday. It's a way for Rios to gain some extra income should Toronto decide to trade him between the 2011-14 seasons.
Before next season, Rios also has the flexibility to choose roughly five teams to include on a no-trade list. It's one way to provide Rios with the option of blocking some, but not all potential deals. Even after being mentioned in offseason trade rumors, though, Rios downplayed the importance of the clause in reaching an agreement on the contract.
"It wasn't that big of a deal," Rios said on Thursday. "I just wanted the security."
If the Jays trade Rios any time between the beginning of the 2011 season and 2014 Spring Training, the outfielder's base salary in each of the succeeding seasons would increase by $500,000. That means that, if traded during that time period, Rios' salary would jump to $12.5 million in 2012 and $13 million in each of the 2013-14 seasons.
The six-year deal Rios signed also includes a $13.5 million option for the 2015 season or a $1 million buyout. If the 27-year-old Rios were to be traded some time during the 2014 season, either his base salary would jump to $14 million in '15 or the buyout cost would rise to $2 million.
"It was a situation where we were just trying to be as creative as possible," Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi said. "But we didn't make the deal to trade the player. [The possibility of] being traded was something that was important to Alex, so we just tried to provide something in the way of a cash incentive."
For now, Rios, who hit .297 with 24 home runs and 85 RBIs in 161 games for Toronto last season, is scheduled to make $5.9 million in 2009, $9.7 million in 2010, $12 million in each of the '2011-12 seasons and $12.5 million in each of the 2013-14 campaigns.
Rios has a club option worth $13.5 million for the 2015 season or a $1 million buyout. This year, Rios is under contract for $4.835 million, including $3.5 million as a signing bonus, and he can earn an extra $15,000 this season for making the American League All-Star team.
Rios signed the multi-year deal with the Blue Jays following a lengthy negotiation process that began in October. After Rios opted against signing an extension that early in the offseason, Toronto floated a trade with the Giants in December that would've sent the right fielder to San Francisco in exchange for pitcher Tim Lincecum.
On Friday, the Jays also signed second baseman Aaron Hill, who hit .291 with 17 homers and 78 RBIs in 160 games last season, to a four-year, $12 million contract extension. Hill's new deal includes club options for each of the 2012-14 seasons that could bring the contract's total value up to roughly $38 million.
Hill would also be rewarded a one-time payment of $150,000 if he is traded by Toronto at any point between 2008 and 2009. Unlike Rios' contract, though, the second baseman said that his deal did not provide him with the ability to create a no-trade list.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.