Word is the the deal between Boston and Cleveland is done. Coco Crisp will
fill Boston's center field hole and the Red Sox will send reliever Guillermo Mota and third base prospect Andy Marte to Cleveland. Crisp's exit creates a
hole for Cleveland, while Mota's arrival creates a bit of an overload. To ease
both situations, the Phillies and Indians are working to make the second part of
the deal work.
The Phillies are reportedly willing to sacrifice Jason Michaels - who has hit
.291 in all or part of five seasons with the Phillies - for Arthur Rhodes. The
36 year old Rhodes is coming off a season where he went 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA in
47 games with the Indians last season and would take over as the Phillies'
primary setup man out of the bullpen. That would give the Phillies a setup man
and closer with a combined age of 74 at the back end of their bullpen. While
Rhodes had a strong 2005 season, he pitched in just four games over the final
two months of the season, missing time because of an inflamed right knee and
time on the bereavement list to attend to an ill family member. The
Indians report that Rhodes is now healthy, but he will have to pass a physical
before the deal can be completed.
Michaels has had an eventful week. He avoided arbitration by signing a
one-year, $1.5 million contract and avoided jail with a sentence to probation
and community service on a charge of punching a Philadelphia police officer
outside a nightclub last summer.
Phillies General Manager Pat Gillick knows Rhodes well, having had him on the
roster when he served as the GM in Baltimore and again when he was the GM in
Seattle. Even though he's familiar with Rhodes, Gillick also asked about Indians
relievers Rafael Betancourt and David Riske. Betancourt, 30, went 4-3 with a
2.79 ERA in 54 games with the Indians last season. Riske, 28, pitched in 58
games, finishing with a mark of 3-4, 3.10 for Cleveland. The Phillies also
sought to possibly expand the trade to get young Fernando Cabrera (2-1, 1.47),
who pitched in 15 games with Cleveland last season, but were told that he
wouldn't be made available. The only other potential for a change in the deal is
that the Indians could agree to send Mota to Philadelphia in place of Rhodes,
but it's thought that the Phillies have decided they would rather get Rhodes.
Mota went 2-2, 4.70 in 56 games with the Marlins in 2005.
In 15 major league seasons, the left-handed Rhodes is 75-55 with a 4.26 ERA
and has saved 26 games. In addition to Baltimore, Seattle and Cleveland, Rhodes
spent part of the 2004 season with Oakland, going 3-3 with a 5.12 ERA and 9
saves. His career was seemingly rejuvenated last season with Cleveland. Rhodes
is set to make $3.7 million in 2006, which is the final year of his contract.