Rhodes Brings another Veteran Arm to Ranger Pen
By Steve Hunt
February 10, 2011
Some might argue that all the Rangers did in adding 41-year-old left-handed reliever Arthur Rhodes during the off-season was make their relief corps even older. But to dismiss the Waco native as just another veteran arm is to diminish what the 6-foot-2 reliever can still do in what will be his 20th season in the show.
Rhodes spent the last two seasons with the Reds but became a free agent after last season, so when the chance to become a Ranger materialized, he jumped at the opportunity.
"To tell you the truth, I saw them play all last year," he said during last month's Ranger Fan Fest. "They have a great bullpen. The offense is good. The defense is good. They're young. They go out there and play hard every day. That's what I like to do-go out there, play hard every day and win. That's why I decided to come over and be with the Rangers."
And it's not like he's coming to a team where he doesn't know anybody. Rhodes played for Oakland in 2004, when their third base coach happened to be current Texas skipper Ron Washington.
"Our relationship was good. When he was the third base coach and I was in the bullpen, I couldn't really talk to him," he said. "But after games, we'd talk and have fun. He's a great guy."
Rhodes also pitched for the Mariners in 2008, meaning he has now pitched for 75 percent of the teams in the American League West. The Rangers are the ninth different team he has pitched for in a solid big-league career.
But it wasn't like coming to Arlington was a slam dunk for the Waco product.
"It wasn't easy because a lot of good teams out there wanted me," Rhodes said. "A good fit plus playing back at home is good. I don't care. Playing at home doesn't matter."
He joins fellow 40-something Darren Oliver as the most experience members of the Texas pen. Playing such a mentoring role is nothing new for the seasoned reliever.
"I did that two years ago with Cincinnati, helping with the young guys, working with them on how to do their roles and play the game. That's what I've been doing the last few years and it helped out," he said. "I'm not going to step on anybody's toes in spring training. I'm just going to look around and see how they're doing it. If they're not doing it, I'm going to say hey, look where you got last year. Let's try to do the same thing this year. That's all I'm going to do."
One of those young hurlers he's especially looking forward to working with is Ranger closer Neftali Feliz, the reigning American League Rookie of the Year.
"Rangers got a great closer. He's got a good arm and throws hard," he said. "I wish I could throw that hard again but I'm too old."
In his 19 seasons, Rhodes has made 849 relief appearances, which is just over 400 behind Jesse Orosco, who made 1,252 in his career. Not coincidentally, it was Orosco who helped a young Arthur during the early part of his career with the Orioles.
"That's why I'm trying to catch him. I'm trying to pass him really. He had 21 years there," he said. "I'm going to try to catch him. I'm going to pitch until my arm falls off. I told him as soon as I was with him Baltimore. I'm going to catch your record. Then, I saw him two years ago in San Diego and said I'm going to catch you. He started laughing."