Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.
July 31, 2008 8:18 AM
Posted by Geoff Baker
The Mariners will officially announce at 9 a.m. that Arthur Rhodes is on his way to the Florida Marlins for pitching prospect Gaby Hernandez. The 22-year-old Hernandez, from Miami, is a Class AA starter, who was in AAA earlier this season before being demoted on July 6. His AAA numbers saw him at 2-8 with a 7.24 ERA. But he's put up decent AA numbers.
He was 3-0 with a 4.30 ERA in four AA starts this year after going 9-11 with a 4.22 ERA in 2007.
His peripheral numbers show a 2-to-1 strikeouts-to-walks ratio. He does seem to walk quite a few guys, but he's young. Command was actually the right hander's forte when he broke in with the New York Mets organization after they made him a third-round pick in 2004 as an 18-year-old. At the time, he projected to be a frontline starter, but those reviews have cooled somewhat. He's a fastball, curveball, changeup guy. Been working on a cutter. Never hurts to have a 22-year-old starter with AAA experience. Rhodes is going to be 39 in October. He wasn't going to help the M's do anything special this year, and likely next.
Besides, if the M's need him so much, they can always try to re-sign him for next year. This was the no-brainer trade. Let's see if anything else happens.
From what I'm told, theTwins have still been calling the M's about Adrian Beltre. But Seattle's asking price has always revolved around starting pitchers Nick Blackburn, Glen Perkins, Scott Baker and Kevin Slowey, or outfielder Denard Span. And the Twins won't do that. As we told you a few weeks back, the Twins feel they're doing the M's a huge favor by taking on the $17 million owed Beltre through 2009 and won't give up any premium in players. That kind of money is a lot for the Twins and they want a bargain someplace. This was never going to happen.
It's the same thing with the San Francisco Giants. They'll have to give up a premium arm and are not prepared to go there. These days, it seems, teams want something for nothing -- at least on the player front. Cash isn't king right now.
OK, it's now 9 a.m., the Mariners have confirmed the deal and interim GM Lee Pelekoudas put out this statement: "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."
By the way, I wouldn't get too worked up about his AAA numbers just yet. Remember, the PCL is a pitcher's graveyard and a hitter's paradise. Let's see how he progresses from here. To pick up a young arm for someone like Rhodes, approaching 40 and who wasn't going to contribute to any team success here, makes a lot of sense.
No guarantees Hernandez will amount to anything. But there is a guarantee that Rhodes will be retiring fairly soon. And he's a relief pitcher. This isn't the same as trading Jamie Moyer. You can find new relief pitchers fairly easily. Just not at the trade deadline if you're a contender. But over the winter, they are plentiful. And also, Eric O'Flaherty is still very much in this team's plans despite his year-long struggles.
Also, that Ken Griffey Jr. deal to the White Sox looks to be going down. This will likely spell the end of those Griffey-to-Seattle rumors I haven't stopped hearing about since he came here with the Reds over a year ago. Can't say I'm too upset about it.