The Mariners traded relief pitcher Arthur Rhodes to Florida this morning for a minor-league pitcher.
While much of the talk about possible trades for the Mariners surrounded a different left-handed pitcher, the trade of Arthur Rhodes should have been expected. He will be the first of about five or six left-handed relievers to get traded.
Because the left-on-left specialist is a needed commodity for down-the-stretch success. The Marlins bullpen has been decent this season but their lefty specialist Reynel Pinto leads the NL in appearances at 57. Rhodes offers some insurance and a veteran presence in the bullpen. Even this year in Seattle, he provided plenty of leadership for what is a relatively young bullpen.
Realistically Rhodes has been somewhat of a surprise since he's coming off of Tommy John surgery. His velocity is in the low 90s and his breaking pitches have been solid - regardless of what happened last night (he was clearly getting squeezed on a couple of calls).
Really the trade is just a rental and Rhodes will be a free agent in the offseason, and able to re-sign with the Mariners if he so wishes. Seattle does have a capable lefty in Cesar Jimenez (but he isn't a classic left on left power guy). The Mariners also have Eric O'Flaherty, who is hurt right now, but still filled with potential.
As for what they got back, I'm still waiting for some information about Gaby Hernandez and what he throws. I will say this though, if he pitched in Albuquerque, his stats are going to be inflated because that is a total hitters park - as are several in the PCL.
If it was the final time Arthur Rhodes donned a Mariner uniform in his career, you can at least say that his exit wasn't dull.
- Ryan Divish
From Jon Heyman's Trade blog on SI.com ...
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The Mariners' agreement to send reliever Arthur Rhodes to the Marlins may be giving the Yankees hope that perhaps Seattle will also relent and agree to trade Jarrod Washburn to the Yankees. Word is, Gaby Hernandez -- who went to the Mariners in the Rhodes deal -- was on the table for weeks. Perhaps the Mariners will also relent on Washburn. The Yankees have generously offered to pick up the rest of the $14 million remaining on Washburn's contract through 2009 while sending them a middling prospect. Seattle has been calling around to try to beat that, but the suspicion is they won't. So maybe the Yankees will get Washburn after all.
The team release:
MARINERS ACQUIRE RHP GABY HERNANDEZ FROM FLORIDA MARLINS
Left-Hander Arthur Rhodes sent to Marlins
ARLINGTON, TX. -- Seattle Mariners Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Lee Pelekoudas today announced that the club has acquired right-handed pitcher Gaby Hernandez from the Florida Marlins in exchange for left-handed pitcher Arthur Rhodes.
Hernandez, 22, was 5-8 with a 6.46 ERA in 17 starts combined between double-A Carolina and triple-A Albuquerque this season. He began the season with Albuquerque, making 13 starts before being transferred to Carolina on July 6. He is 3-0 with a 4.30 ERA in his four starts with the Mudcats. Hernandez was on the disabled list earlier this season with a strained left oblique muscle from April 23-May 19.
"We felt the opportunity to acquire a young pitcher made sense as we look towards 2009 and beyond," Pelekoudas said. "Pedro Grifol, our minor league field coordinator, has known Gaby for several years and believes he has a chance to help us in the future."
Hernandez was originally selected by the New York Mets in the third-round of the 2004 June draft. He was acquired by Florida with OF Dante Brinkley in exchange for C Paul Lo Duca on December 9, 2005. Hernandez owns 35-35 with a 3.97 ERA (242 ER, 549.0 IP) in five seasons in the Minor Leagues.
Rhodes, 38, was 2-1 with one save and a 2.86 ERA in 36 relief appearances with the Mariners this season. He has limited opponents to a .230 (17x74) average, while striking out 26 in 22.0 innings in relief. Rhodes has held opponents scoreless in 32 of 36 appearances this season, including a streak of 18 consecutive scoreless games (11.2 IP) that ended last night. He missed all of the 2007 season recovering from "Tommy John" surgery on his left elbow.
Rhodes has a career mark of 77-61, 4.28 in 689 big league games (61 starts) with Baltimore (1991-99), Seattle (2000-03, 2007-2008), Oakland (2004), Cleveland (2005) and Philadelphia (2006). He is 28-16, 3.03 in 312 career appearances with the Mariners. Rhodes currently ranks fourth in Mariners history with 312 career pitching appearances, while his 628 games ranks fourth among active left-handed relievers in the Major Leagues.