Monday, January 23, 2006

Insider Information?

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.


gr said...

nail on the head, baby.

J. Weitzel said...

Relief pitching will always be a goofy thing for managers to deal with.

We can thank Ed Wade for not developing these positions internally the way better teams do it. That's why our closer is 38 and the new setup man may be 36.

If this deal happens, thankfully there is only a year left on Rhodes' contract. By then, from the huddled masses known as the rest of the bullpen, the Phillies may be in position to develop something in-house to serve as set-up man.

Unfortunately, I don't think it would have been wise to begin the season with too many unknowns in the bullpen or else Charlie Manuel's head might explode. While Rhodes isn't perfect, or a spring chick, I'm glad Gillick is addressing his bullpen. Even if it's Rhodes, it makes the team better.

Tom Goodman said...

Gillick cannot decide whether or not to blow off this season altogether and the acquisition of an Arthur Rhodes would simply put off the decision. Michaels is worth more than Rhodes, who may or may not have a year or two left in his legs. My guess is Gillick still thinks he is one starter away from being a serious contender for the wide open NL East, the Mets notwithstanding. He may be right, but Arthur Rhodes doesn't get him closer if it means giving up Michaels. The better decision would be to move Michaels for a propsect, be he a starter or closer. I'd rather take a chance on a prospect than bring in a place-holder.