By Jim Callis
January 27, 2006
The Indians pulled off a six-player trade with the Red Sox on Friday in which Coco Crisp and third-base prospect Andy Marte were the principals, but they first set the stage for that deal with a smaller one earlier in the day. Cleveland replaced Crisp in left field by obtaining Jason Michaels from the Phillies for Arthur Rhodes.
Michaels, 29, will get his first chance to be an everyday player. He’s coming off a .304/.399/.415 season with four homers and 31 RBIs in 105 games (289 at-bats) in 2005, but he wasn’t going to crack a Philadelphia outfield of Pat Burrell, Aaron Rowand and Bobby Abreu. Michaels did a good job of tightening his strike zone last year, though it came at the expense of some power. He’s a slightly above-average runner and left fielder, and he has the versatility to also play center and right. Michaels signed for $1.5 million rather than pursue arbitration this offseason. He’s a career .291/.380/.442 hitter in 383 games.
Rhodes, a 36-year-old lefty, posted his lowest ERA since 2001 last year. He went 3-1, 2.08 with 16 holds in 47 outings and had a 43-12 K-BB ratio in 43 innings. Opponents batted just .206 with two homers against him, and he actually was tougher on righthanders than lefthanders. He left the Indians in mid-September for personal reasons. Rhodes continues to throw in the low 90s, and he had better command and seemingly more confidence last season. His slider is his best pitch, and he also uses a curveball and changeup at times. Rhodes will make $4.8 million in 2006, the final season of a three-year, $9.2 million contract he originally signed with the Athletics as a free agent. He has a lifetime 75-55, 4.26 record with 26 saves and 146 holds in 598 contests.