A report in this morning’s Inquirer that the Phils are on the verge of trading Jason Michaels to Cleveland for Arthur Rhodes raises a potentially troubling trend with Pat Gillick. The new GM is bringing in players he knows, but all of them have above-average baggage. The Ryan Franklin signing was one such deal; the potential Rhodes acquisition is another. While Rhodes had a fine year for Cleveland in 2005, the piece in the Inquirer noted he was unable to pitch for most of the last two months of the season due to an inflamed knee. At 36 years of age, the fifteen year veteran has to be considered another gamble given his health and the number of stickers on his luggage. The Phils would be his fourth club in four consecutive years.
Gillick may know something about these two players the rest of the GM’s are less privy to, but their track records are public knowledge. Rhodes had a fine season for Cleveland when able to pitch, going 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA and zero saves as a set-up man, but his career 4.26 ERA is hardly inspiring and ankle and knee problems over the last three seasons are worrisome at least.
Another disturbing aspect of this trade is the feeling that Michaels could fetch more in the way of prospects than this deal would yield, namely, settling for some stop-gap measure. With Rhodes, Gordon and Cormier in the pen, the Phils have lots of experience to be sure. Of course, another word for experience is age.