I mean signing with Texas, of course. Not the other stuff.
Last week when I was frantically doing my last-minute shopping and wrapping my heart out, Arthur Rhodes signed a one year deal with the Texas Rangers. Wikipedia says it included a vesting option for 2012, but it didn’t mention how much the contract was for. (Baseball Reference was worse, where he’s still listed as a free agent. They must still be recovering from the holidays.)
However, we know that Mr. Rhodes pulled down $2M a year for the last two years, and his All-Star team election and general awesomeness in the last couple years probably didn’t hurt his marketability, even if he *is* 41 years old. I mean, why not? He’s pitching less than Randy Johnson, and looking a lot better doing it (not that Johnson sets the bar very high when it comes to looking good).
ESPN points out:
Rhodes has earned the chance to stay in the majors because he is a high-level lefty specialist. Opposing left-handers have a career .281 opponents on-base percentage against him, which ranks fifth-best among active left-handed pitchers who have faced at least 500 lefties (58 left-handed pitchers qualify, including Billy Wagner, who ranks second and is expected to retire). That’s one point better than the Yankees lefty reliever pickup, Pedro Feliciano.
Over the last three seasons, he’s been even better, dropping that number to .236. The only active pitchers better in that span are Hong-Chih Kuo, Neftali Feliz, Mariano Rivera, and Billy Wagner.
It’s been an impressive run for Rhodes, and it doesn’t appear to be just a fluke. You may recall this tidbit from the Reds’ press release when they signed Rhodes after the 2008 season:
The 16-year Major League veteran has produced a 79-61 record, 4.23 ERA and 32 saves in 714 career appearances and 61 starts for the Baltimore Orioles, Mariners, Oakland Athletics, Cleveland Indians, Philadelphia Phillies and Marlins. Rhodes made 20 postseason appearances for the Orioles and Mariners, including 9 in the American League Division Series and 11 in the AL Championship Series.
All-in-all, Rhodes looks like a good pickup for the Rangers and maybe a couple million that the Reds can use on someone else. And none of this changes my early prediction of Reds versus Rangers in the 2011 World Series.