The Cardinals announced tonight that they have signed left handed reliever Arthur Rhodes. The 41 year old Rhodes was released by the Texas Rangers earlier this week after compiling a 4.81 ERA in 32 appearances for the Rangers.
The veteran left hander was taking his time to choose because he wanted a team that was in contention with the hopes of a playoff shot.
The Cardinals bullpen has lacked a quality left handed reliever for most of the season. With recent acquisition Marc Rzepczynski capable of being a multiple hitter pitcher, the Cardinals lacked a true LOOGY and a guy that they could use in strategy situations against a quality left handed hitter without wasting Rzepczynski.
When you look at Rhodes’ platoon splits, while he gets lit up by right handed hitters to a tune of a .333 batting average, .365 on base percentage and .633 slugging percentage, he has been pretty good against left handed hitters. Those stats are a .216 batting average, .310 on base percentage, and a .405 slugging percentage. Good enough to fit the role and give Tony LaRussa a layer of strategy in the late innings (if he actually utilizes the lefty-lefty matchup correctly, that is).
Rhodes is no stranger to the NL Central. He spent the last two seasons with Cincinnati. During those two years he posted a 2.41 ERA over 108 1/3 innings for the Reds.
The Cardinals are currently carrying 11 pitchers and 14 position players, I expect because they expected Rhodes to make his decision today and they could live with a short bullpen for a couple days. They didn’t want someone to make a two day trip from Memphis. Odds are a position player will get the demotion, and I suspect that player will be Tony Cruz.
Cruz has just two hits since the All Star break, going 2 for 18 in 12 appearances. Even with his versatility to play nearly any position on the diamond, Cruz would seem to be the odd man out now that Allen Craig is back on the roster.
The Cardinals confirmed Friday afternoon that Tony Cruz is being optioned to Memphis to make room for Rhodes on the 25 man roster. Raul Valdes has been designated for assignment to make room for Rhodes on the 40 man roster.