Texas has agreed to a one-year contract with Arthur Rhodes, according to Steve Phillips of AOL Fanhouse, who reports that the deal also includes a vesting option for 2012 after the veteran left-hander made his first All-Star team this year at age 41.
Rhodes was classified as a Type A free agent, but because the Reds didn’t offer him arbitration the Rangers won’t have to give up a draft pick to sign him.
He had a 2.29 ERA and 50/18 K/BB ratio in 55 innings for Cincinnati, marking Rhodes’ third straight season with an ERA below 3.00. He held left-handed hitters to a .172 batting average during that three-year span and also allowed right-handers to hit just .232 to show that he’s capable of more than left-handed specialist duties.
According to Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com “the Rangers continue to keep in contact with Vladimir Guerrero’s agent, but don’t appear to be in any rush to nail down what they’ll do about the designated hitter position in 2011.”
Other veteran DH options like Hideki Matsui, Jack Cust, Lance Berkman, and Pat Burrell are off the market, but there’s still no shortage of capable bats looking for one-year deals if the Rangers can’t find common ground with Guerrero.
He’s said to be seeking a two-year contract, but at age 36 the Rangers surely want to avoid a multi-year commitment and Guerrero’s lackluster late-season performance was worrisome following a very strong first half.
General manager Jon Daniels talked about potentially finding a DH who offered “a little bit more flexible roster” than Guerrero, who was exposed badly when spotted in right field during the playoffs.
Rich Harden and the A’s have agreed to a one-year contract worth $1.5 million in guaranteed money and another $1.5 million in potential incentives, according to a major league source.
Harden, who was drafted by the A’s in 2000 and pitched in Oakland from 2003 to mid-2008, returns after stints with the Cubs and Rangers.
He hasn’t been injury free for an entire season since way back in 2004 and for the first time this year Harden’s performance suffered even when he was healthy enough to pitch, as he went 5-5 with a 5.58 ERA and 75/62 K/BB ratio in 92 innings for the Rangers, who bumped him from the rotation and then left him off the postseason roster.
His average fastball velocity dropped to a career-low 90.5 miles per hour this year and has gradually declined from his peak of 94.3 and 94.4 mph in 2004 and 2005, so the longstanding belief that Harden is capable of making a huge impact if he can just stay healthy is also now in plenty of doubt. Still, the price is right and Harden was 36-19 with a 3.42 ERA and 523 strikeouts in 542 innings for the A’s the first time around.
In the wake of the Rangers missing out on re-signing Cliff Lee there’s been some speculation that they could fill his spot in the rotation with closer Neftali Feliz, who was primarily a starter in the minors and ranked among Baseball America‘s top 10 prospects as a starter in back-to-back years.
Yesterday manager Ron Washington indicated the shift is a possibility, but called it “a last resort” and made it very clear that he hopes to keep Feliz (and Alexi Ogando) in the bullpen:
I trust that Jon Daniels will find something to help us out. If that becomes a necessity, we’re fortunate we have that depth. If that does not become a necessity, we’ll keep those guys where they are.
In other words, he’s counting on general manager Jon Daniels acquiring another veteran starter, either through trade (Zack Greinke? Matt Garza?) or free agency (Carl Pavano?).