Free Agent Stock Watch: Arthur Rhodes

Two years ago the Reds took a gamble on 39-year-old lefty Arthur Rhodes, signing him to a two-year, $4MM deal.  Last we read, interest was mutual on a new contract.  Still, let's examine Rhodes' free agent stock.

The Good

  • Since returning to the National League at the 2008 trade deadline, Rhodes has a 2.22 ERA, 8.3 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, and 0.52 HR/9 in 121 2/3 innings across 160 appearances.  He's allowed only 86 hits in that time.
  • Rhodes dominated lefties this year in 23 2/3 innings, and was solid against them the previous two seasons.  His consistent ability to prevent them from getting hits is not credited in a stat like xFIP.
  • Rhodes has been around since 1991, so he should offer the intangible of veteran wisdom.

The Bad

  • Rhodes is a Type A free agent.  We'll know late tomorrow whether the Reds offer arbitration.  If Rhodes turns down such an offer, a new team would have to surrender a draft pick to sign him.  This could hurt his market quite a bit.
  • Rhodes turned 41 last month, which may give teams pause if he seeks a two-year deal. 
  • He doesn't get many groundballs.  That hasn't stopped him from preventing home runs, but some clubs could be concerned.  Also, Rhodes is ordinary against right-handed hitters.
  • ESPN's Keith Law wasn't kind in his relievers buyer's guide, saying Rhodes' stuff was diminished toward the end of the year and he is "a bad month away from a forced retirement."  Would he succeed back in the American League?  In Rhodes' defense, he dealt with a sore foot for much of the season.

The Verdict

Rhodes' Type A designation could prevent him from getting another two-year deal.  If the Reds offer arbitration, his best move might be to accept rather than try to score a contract elsewhere with the draft pick stigma attached.  He'd still be in pretty good shape with a potential $4MM salary for 2011.  If the Reds do not offer arbitration, I think Rhodes will get another two-year deal.