Saturday, August 13, 2011

Here Comes Arthur Rhodes

The Cardinals picked up Arthur Rhodes after he'd been released by the Rangers. I don't feel surprised by the move. LaRussa like to have two useful lefthanders in his bullpen. Scrabble makes one, and that's it. At least it's one more than he had most of the season. If Arthur Rhodes can pitch well, he'd make two.

The question is whether he can pitch well. His WHIP this season is 1.479, he's allowing more than 2 HRs for every 9 innings and his K rate is 5.5/9 IP. His walk rate is 3/9, but that's not too different from last year. The drop in K rate (almost 3 fewer K/9) combined with the threefold increase in home run is the issue.

The good news is he's only thrown 24 innings this season, so there's a chance this is a fluke. The last three years he had been worth 1.3, 1.3, and 1.6 WAR, so there's reason to hope he can rebound. Especially since he's moved to the less offensively potent league. Then again, it isn't as if the AL West is filled with teams that could rake. The Angels aren't bad, but the A's and Mariners are pretty anemic.

At any rate, Rhodes is historically Octavio Dotel's mirror image. Good against LHs (.604 OPS), weaker against righthanded hitters (.733 OPS). If he limits Rhodes to facing lefties, it should be OK. Of course, LaRussa hasn't shown any inclination to keep Dotel away from lefties, letting him face Braun and Prince Fielder (both lefties) in a crucial inning during the Cards' recent series with the Brewers. This when Scrabble was sitting in the pen, presumably awaiting some moment when tough lefthanded hitters would need to be retired. Hopefully with two lefties in the 'pen, Tony will leave the lefthanders to them, and limit Dotel to facing righties.