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Cardinals sign Rangers castoff Arthur Rhodes

Aug 11, 2011, 6:12 PM EST

Arthur Rhodes AP

UPDATE: They got their man, as Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the Cardinals have signed Rhodes and he’ll join the bullpen tomorrow.

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Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the Cardinals “were among the teams to instantly make overtures” to Arthur Rhodes after the veteran reliever was released by the Rangers.

Rhodes and his $3.9 million contract cleared waivers, so he’s a free agent and can be signed for as little as a prorated share of the minimum salary, with his agent telling Goold that multiple teams have expressed interest.

His velocity has slipped this season and right-handed hitters clobbered Rhodes in Texas, but the 41-year-old southpaw remained effective versus left-handed hitters and posted a sub-3.00 ERA in each of the past three seasons.

And if ever there was a good home for a declining but still decent veteran left-handed specialist it’s probably in the National League and a Tony La Russa-managed bullpen.

  1. spudchukar - Aug 11, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    With the recent injury to Lance Lynn, who had been nothing short of spectacular, the delayed return of Eduardo Sanchez, and the struggles of Mitchell Boggs, which may be related to his back problem the Cards need somebody. They only have 1 lefty in the bullpen. Valdez sits in AAA, and while his brief tenure in the Bigs wasn’t awful it could best be described as OK. He is young but only tops out on the radar gun at 88 MPH, which is troubling. So look for the Cards to make this move. For years he has been on the Cards radar.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Aug 11, 2011 at 11:36 AM

      Isn’t every relief pitcher on the Cards radar?

    • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 11, 2011 at 11:38 AM

      Just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, potatoman. Your Cardinals are Kentucky Fried my friend. unfortunately for them, they don’t get to play the Marlins every night.

      • spudchukar - Aug 11, 2011 at 12:06 PM

        On the optimistic side we have four soon with the Phillies who we have spanked.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 11, 2011 at 12:19 PM

        Touché spud, but just like they got their revenge on the Giants and took 3 of 4 they will do the same thing to the Cardinals.

      • Utley's Hair - Aug 11, 2011 at 12:30 PM

        Four games at the Bank. Possibly when the Phightins are wrapping up the East (not tempting fate…not tempting fate…not tempting fate). And the Phightins took two of three from them in St. Louis last time to put the head-to-head at 2-3. Bring it.

      • cur68 - Aug 11, 2011 at 12:42 PM

        This Beaver Wrestler is torn, absolutely torn, when considering the Phillies v the Cards. Who do I root for? The Machiavellian machinations of Tony “Big Brains” La Russa or the down home word smithing of Cholly Fuqau Manuel Jr?

        On the one hand we have some thinking man’s baseball management. On the other we have some thinking man’s pitching.

        Well, I think I’ll go with Cholly’s boys if its Harry Leroy Halladay III pitching and TLR’s crew for all other games. Unless Ryan Howard plays above a mediocre level. Then I gotta back Howard, because I believe in playing above reputation. Shows grit.

      • Utley's Hair - Aug 11, 2011 at 12:49 PM

        Aren’t there more constructive things to do with a beaver than wrestling?

      • cur68 - Aug 11, 2011 at 1:05 PM

        Depends on how you wrestle, now doesn’t it? Beaver’s can be fierce in a fight. Them big buck teeth can really inflict a deep wound on a chap. Now some favour the “rodeo” approach: strap in and hang on for 8 seconds. Personally I go for a more ‘thinking’ approach: lots of nonchalant chatting while moving in closer and smelling appealingly of cedar. Beaver’s are suckers for cedar. This is known as the “beaver whisperer” approach. Doesn’t always work but when it does, well you get WAY more than 8 seconds. I believe the 2nd option shows grit.

      • Utley's Hair - Aug 11, 2011 at 1:45 PM

        Oil? Mud? Pudding? Uh-oh…I think I might be getting into Irate Craig territory here….

      • wlschneider09 - Aug 11, 2011 at 2:03 PM

        Careful there Cur, those beavers can be murder on wood, if you catch my drift.

  2. jimbo1949 - Aug 11, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    Just another brick in the 24 pitcher and Albert wall.

    • paperlions - Aug 11, 2011 at 2:13 PM

      Yeah, but I just can’t figure out why it isn’t 24 pitchers and a scrappy player….I mean, Albert isn’t scrappy, he doesn’t run out grounders, he doesn’t bunt, he doesn’t ground out to the right side of the infield to advance runners, I’m not sure what anyone sees in that guy…..plus, they need a catcher to go with the 24 pitchers, right? Albert can’t even play catcher.

      • spudchukar - Aug 11, 2011 at 2:22 PM

        I am almost to the point where I do not care if he leaves.

      • paperlions - Aug 11, 2011 at 2:27 PM

        You care. Here is how I know you care. Every once in a while I feel like you do, then I imagine the team without him, and how less cool it would be if he spent the rest of his career with another team, passing milestones wearing another uniform, and I realize that it is just the frustration at the current season clouding my judgement. I care. How can I not?

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 11, 2011 at 2:33 PM

        That’s blasphemy, tater-tots. Pujols is the heart and soul of los Cardinales. If he were to leave, I have a couple questions…

        1) What team do you think he would go to and for how much?
        2) What would the Cardinals do to replace him..or try to replace him?

      • paperlions - Aug 11, 2011 at 2:40 PM

        The answer to #2 should be give Matt Adams (a soon to be 23 yr old prospect that has torn the cover off of the ball every year in the minors and is doing so this year despite skipping high A and moving directly to AA) a shot at the gig, if he can’t cut it…then move on to other options. Instead, they’ll probably waste money on an old guy and let Adams languish in the minors and then trade him for 3 relievers so he can be play for a team that doesn’t prefer crappy veterans to inexperienced talent.

        I have no idea who would pay Pujols more than the Cardinals would. He has been a steal every year of his career, most of the years on his next contract will be an over-pay, he’s already earned that money, it should be the Cardinals that give it to him…but it might not be.

      • spudchukar - Aug 11, 2011 at 3:35 PM

        I have been a champion of his cause many times here on HBT. What goes unnoticed by those who do not see him on a daily basis are his intangibles. That probably isn’t the perfect word because some of his brilliance can be measured. His range at 1B should be legendary. He has no contemporary rival as a baserunner, when you factor in his speed. He has played through injuries that almost any other player would be sidelined with. Then of course he has put up numbers that no player ever has matched in his first 10 years. That is the good part.

        Offensively, since the second half of the 2010 season, he has shown some chinks in his armor. In 2011 it has only magnified. It is easy to understand stubbornness, especially after so much success. But unless he adapts, he becomes expendable, especially if he demands 28 mil a year. Right now he is a .275 hitter, with an OBP of .342, more than .100 points lower than his average. He only has 39 walks with a little more than 1/4 of the season left. He has a paltry 21 doubles. His OPS is .869. His career OPS average 1.038. Yes he has 27 homers, and 70 RBIs, but those totals disguise an otherwise mediocre season for many First Basemen. He leads the league in GIDP with 25.

        In fairness it has not effected other areas of his game. A couple more errors than normal, but his defense remains stellar. But unless he improves in a least 3 areas, management should consider letting him go. First, he cannot continue to take the first pitch. In the past this strategy has worked. Pitchers were so cautious that they often fell behind, only allowing him to look for the fastball that he can still catch up to. These days it is strike one and even the greatest hitters become only good when they fall behind in the count. The good news here is that at this stage of his career he is still a threat against the best fastballs, which brings us to number 2.

        He must be more selective. This is intertwined with #1 somewhat. After falling behind 0-1, pitchers then hope to entice him with pitches outside the zone, be it fastballs out of the zone, change-ups unhittably low, or breaking balls away. Exercising #1 would go a long way in allowing him to be more choosy. Since we now have Holliday and Berkman behind him a walk is more valuable then ever. Make them throw you strikes.

        The final adaptation has to come on inside pitches. He got in a bad habit of proving to most teams that no matter how far inside you throw it he could hit it. In order to do this you must open your hips early. It became habit. He has improved, with a deeper crouch that has him striding more directly towards the pitcher, but in doing so he can be jammed. In the past he had the uncanny knack of keeping inside pitches fair with a combination of quick hands and perpendicular bat angle. He has lost that ability. He cannot spin out too early with his weight sliding to the outside of left foot. To improve he must be more disciplined especially on inside pitches. You can look inside, but that does not mean you commit to any pitch there.

        The question Cardinal executives have to ponder is which Pujols do they have. If they believe this is a one-year ordeal, and future years will more resemble the 2001-2010 Pujols then they would be nuts to let him leave. But if they are convinced that his stubbornness is unconquerable, and the 2011 season is a forecast of years to come, then his 2011 numbers are not those of a 28 mil dollar player, even with the intangibles.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 11, 2011 at 3:48 PM

        Great read spud…my question to you would be this…is he doing poorly this year because he has the contract on his mind, or is he hurt, or is he just deteriorating physically, or a combination of all of that? I think if the Cardinals had done what was fair and given him the long-term security he deserved, he would not be playing as poorly this year. Unlike other guys who have to play for a big contract, Pujols knows he is getting the biggest contract in baseball so if anything, I think the contract year weighed negatively on him.

      • spudchukar - Aug 11, 2011 at 4:11 PM

        Thanks, Fior. To answer your question honestly, I am not sure, but if I had to bet my answer would be “none of the above”. Perhaps the contract has an indirect effect, trying too hard etc. But Pujols has always been able to compartmentalize. I do not believe his offensive woes are due to injury. He has actually been better since the wrist crack, so that almost certainly is not to blame.

        If he were having trouble catching up to fastballs, the deterioration argument might fly, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. In my view it is mental, and mechanical. Can age effect that, I guess. It is impatience compounded by stubbornness, which has led to some bad habits. Correctable, Yes. But there have been a myriad of talented hitters who could never make corrections, and I have the fear his ability to adjust, which includes acceptance of the problem might be beyond him. He is in a sort of “Hitting Denial”, and as a fan it is frustrating, and he is so talented, and knowledgeable that he believes he is always on the brink of breaking out of it, like he has done in the past. Only this time it is season long, he has not been able to figure it out, causing him to press, become impatient… you know the rest.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 11, 2011 at 4:20 PM

        I don’t think he is going anywhere, but I have to admit, it is going to be great drama if he does hit the open market…at the very least, it will give the baseball world a huge story to follow during the off-season. The heads of the anchors on ESPN will literally explode during SportsCenter.

      • spudchukar - Aug 11, 2011 at 5:14 PM

        If you could promise me that I would watch.

      • spudchukar - Aug 11, 2011 at 5:27 PM

        The one team that I have always believed to be the most likely to sign him is Baltimore. But as their season deteriorates, the likelihood of Phat Albert choosing orange becomes less attractive. The many rumors surrounding Chicago doesn’t make sense to me for similar reasons. Their inactivity at the trade deadline, makes me curious. Trying to prove they are not rebuilding just to woo Pujols. I think he is too smart for that. Toronto is intriguing, and they too need a First Baseman if Lind returns to DH, but like Baltimore their pitching is suspect. One probably shouldn’t count our Texas. What a line-up that would be.

        Knowing Pujols the two factors that will predominate, is winning and playing. He will not DH. Never, not even in 5 years. The one other mitigating issue is ballpark. He knows he will be on the brink of many records soon, and a hitter’s park makes that more likely. Which brings both Baltimore and Texas back into the conversation. Money apparently isn’t much of a problem in Dallas, and they seem bound and determined to obtain a championship. So if not St. Louis, then my best bet would be Texas, but you can bet the Angels will drive up the price.

      • kiwicricket - Aug 11, 2011 at 7:59 PM

        I just can’t see how the Card’s can pay 2 hitters half the team’s payroll and succeed.
        The Card’s should look at it as though they made out like bandits for a decade, now the gravy train has to come to an end. They had an exceedingly good run with regards to performance on the field with Albert, but were even more exceptionally fortunate contract-wise during his tenure. 30M per year can buy two new faces for the franchise can’t it?

      • thefalcon123 - Aug 12, 2011 at 10:14 AM

        @spudchukar

        Since June 3rd (which pretty much marked the end of his terrible start), Pujols is slugging .694. It’s true his plate discipline has been bad, but his power is still there and he’s not striking out at a higher rate. It’s a problem between the ears. Despite this, he is still 10th in OPS+, 1st in home runs and 15th in WAR. He’s on pace to hit 40 homers *in the worst year of his career*!

        As for “chinks in his armor” in the 2nd half of 2010…umm…he had a 184 OPS+ in the 2nd half of that year, so what the f**k are you talking about?!?!

      • spudchukar - Aug 12, 2011 at 10:48 AM

        I can understand your criticism of including the second half of last year as the beginning of Pujols’ downturn, and some stats support that. However, it was in the second half of the year that some of his current bad habits began. It is true that he is 10th in OPS+, but trails his two teammates by wide margins. And his current OPS+ is .25 points lower than his lifetime average. He isn’t on pace to hit 40 HRs, only 38. And his BBs and Doubles are way down, and GIDP are at historic highs. The point of the comment was directed to the decisions the Cards management have to make, and which Pujols will the future bring. Nowhere did I suggest he isn’t still one of the best, but in order to bring in 28 mil a year you need to be THE best, and in 2011 he hasn’t been.

  3. derpdederpdederp - Aug 11, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    I dont think there was a single person who didnt call this the second he got released

    • paperlions - Aug 11, 2011 at 2:41 PM

      There wasn’t. People that think “let’s bunt with no outs in the 1st” Tony is a genius thought it in sincerity; the rest of us thought it with derision….but EVERYONE thought it.

  4. paperlions - Aug 11, 2011 at 9:26 PM

    Thank god, any chance you have to get a pitcher that is both very old and left handed….well, how can you pass that up (I am guessing there are 29 teams that can correctly answer that question)

  5. paperlions - Aug 11, 2011 at 9:26 PM

    …and if this move doesn’t demonstrate the influence TLR has over the roster…what would?

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