Phillies, Indians and Red Sox Keep Talking

The Phillies continue looking for help in the bullpen and are close to officially using Jason Michaels as the chip to get it. The Indians and Phillies are working on a deal to send Michaels to Cleveland, contingent on the Indians and Red Sox completing a separate deal. Got all that?

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. Recommended Stories

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