By Jason Wojciechowski on June 23, 2004 at 7:48 PM
Arthur Rhodes has proven himself to be a Terrence Long-sized jackass. Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder come out and say that the bullpen needs to pick it up, because they do, and Rhodes gets mad and threatens them, saying, "[I]t's not going to be a pretty sight" if the starters criticize them again.
Please. What's he going to do, go all Kenny Rogers on them in an elevator? Does he realize that Mark Mulder is 6'6" and big, that Tim Hudson would probably rip his head off? Does he realize that whether they have nine combined years of experience (more than the seven he claimed they had) compared to his thirteen, they've got nine years of A's experience compared to his one? Does he realize that, post-Giambi, if this team has a public face, it's probably Tim Hudson?
And does he realize that when guys start acting out on this team, they tend to get traded to purgatory?
The article mentions that the A's have had a loose, close-knit clubhouse for years, and while that's partially a consequence of winning (it's easier to be happy when you're in first place and in the playoffs), you have to wonder if it's also part of the A's overall plan for building a team. Maybe Oakland has decided that character and chemistry, despite the derision these things are regarded with in the analyst community, matter. And maybe it works.
The problem, of course, is that Rhodes has little trade value at this point, especially given the size of his contract. The A's would have to consider themselves lucky to get a player of John Mabry's caliber back for him if they dumped him now, especially in the newly cost-conscious major league environment.
Chris Hammond also took offense (note: another new addition to the team), but at least he went and cleared the air with the two starters. Rhodes has no plans to talk to Hudson and Mulder, which means he's just going to be all simmer-y out in the bullpen. If he can use it as motivation to go out and throw about three months worth of zeros, so that, in his words, "They'll come and kiss our butts," then great. By all means, do what you have to do. But if he still sucks and is causing tension, I hope Beane can find a creative way to ship him out.
That three-year contract is looking worse and worse.