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.

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9 Comments on "Free Agent Stock Watch: Arthur Rhodes"

4 years 9 months ago

Rhodes literally limped through the second half of the season with plantar fasciitis in both feet. It would be a huge gamble giving him a two year deal. He is definitely still effective, but his age and injury history are a big concern. If I were the Reds, I would try to sign him to a two year deal only if the second year includes a buyout or club option.

4 years 9 months ago

In no way shape or form is he worth giving up draft picks. I’m sure the Reds know that if they offer arbitration he’s going to take it. It’s a shame these relievers fall under the same category as starters and position players under the Elias system because not many teams are willing to give up that high draft pick for them.

4 years 9 months ago

He dealt with plantar fasciitis for most of 2010 and it was particularly problematic in September. He pitched through it, but had a noticeable limp and would take weight off of it immediately after landing. It’s the type of thing you can generally play through (ask Pujols) but if and when it flares up, it can be debilitating. Rhodes was a stud for the Reds last year, but I think there’s more than a little risk there. With the return to health of Bill Bray and the emergence of Chapman (who will probably be in the pen again in 2011), the Reds simply don’t need Rhodes. The Reds don’t exactly have a ton of money to play with, I’m dubious that anybody will give him the 2 year deal he’d like or part with valuable picks for a relief pitcher on the wrong side of 40. If the Reds offer him arb, I think he’s back with the Reds in 2011. If they don’t, I expect him to sign elsewhere. As good as Rhodes was in 2010, I think Jocketty would be wise to let him walk.

4 years 9 months ago

By my math, the Reds probably have close to $8MM in payflex. The highest priorities for the Reds are SS and LF if you ask me, but you could do a lot worse with $4MM on a one-year contract and still have room to shore up at least one of the more-needed positions.

3.00 Ramon Hernandez
*7.00 Joey Votto
11.25 Brandon Phillips
8.20 Scott Rolen
0.43 Paul Janish
1.75 Jonny Gomes
0.43 Drew Stubbs
*3.50 Jay Bruce
0.43 Ryan Hanigan
0.43 Chris Heisey
0.43 Juan Francisco
0.43 Chris Valaika
0.43 Todd Frazier
0.43 Zack Cozart
0.60 Yonder Alonso

13.00 Bronson Arroyo
*3.50 Edinson Volquez
*4.00 Johnny Cueto
0.43 Homer Bailey
0.43 Travis Wood
12.00 Francisco Cordero
2.50 Aroldis Chapman
1.55 Nick Masset
0.43 Logan Ondrusek
0.43 Jose Arredondo
*0.95 Bill Bray
*0.75 Jared Burton

* – estimated arbitration figure

4 years 9 months ago

come back to phillly

4 years 9 months ago

Unless, of course, you’re being sarcastic.

4 years 9 months ago

Please, no.

4 years 9 months ago

Rhodes is such an under appreciated asset. Since 2001 his numbers are:

539 games / 463 IP / 2.95 ERA / 1.15 WHIP

He’s had a couple stinkers mixed in, but for a reliever he has been remarkably consistent.

That said, here is how this will shake out:

— Red’s won’t offer arb
— Rhodes will find a 1 + 1 deal (vesting option based off performance/games played). Seems fair to all parties involved.

Also, as someone else pointed out, this is a huge reason why Elias needs to be scrapped. To put Rhodes and his contribution on equal footing with Crawford, Lee, and Werth is a travesty. And it only hurts the player.

4 years 9 months ago

I think your reasoning here is sound. A 1 + 1 deal would be fair all around. I do expect the Reds to make that kind of offer to him.