Arthur Rhodes could exit M's with an ejection
Rhodes then got himself ejected for chewing out plate umpire Paul Nauert, moments after yielding a sacrifice fly to pinch-hitter Michael Young that sealed a 4-3 loss to the Texas Rangers.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Mariners' next five gamesToday | @ Texas, 5:05 p.m., FSN | M's RH Dickey (2-6, 4.62) vs. LH Harrison (2-1, 7.32)
Friday | Baltimore, 7:10 p.m., FSN | M's LH Washburn (5-9, 4.50) vs. LH Olson (7-5, 5.90)
Saturday | Baltimore, 7:10 p.m., FSN | M's RH Hernandez (7-6, 3.02) vs. RH Guthrie (7-8, 3.49)
Sunday | Baltimore, 1:10 p.m., FSN | M's RH Silva (4-12, 5.95) vs. RH Cabrera (7-6, 4.81)
Monday | Minnesota, 7:10 p.m., FSN | M's RH Batista (4-11, 6.43) vs. RH Hernandez (10-8, 5.48)
ARLINGTON, Texas — An angry Arthur Rhodes had to be pushed toward the dugout by teammates after the game's decisive at-bat.
In what could very likely have been his final appearance for the Mariners on Wednesday night, the left-hander walked three consecutive hitters on full counts with one out in the eighth inning. Rhodes then got himself ejected for chewing out plate umpire Paul Nauert, moments after yielding a sacrifice fly to pinch-hitter Michael Young that sealed a 4-3 loss to the Texas Rangers.
But while the final memory of Rhodes in a Mariners uniform could be of him stalking toward Nauert, gesturing menacingly before being intercepted by catcher Kenji Johjima, some more pleasant moments of playoff baseball could lie ahead. That's because Rhodes is one of three Mariners players, along with Jarrod Washburn and Raul Ibanez, who remain very much in play as this afternoon's 1 p.m. PST deadline approaches to deal players without passing them through waivers.
"I'm not looking at getting traded," Rhodes said after the game, though he did take it as a compliment the fact his name is out there.
"I look at it as I'm having a great year this year," he said.
The question for Mariners fans is whether the team lives up to its tough talk of last month about practically the entire roster being up for grabs. Or whether interim general manager Lee Pelekoudas will continue to drive a hard bargain and come away empty-handed.
"First of all, we've got to make it clear that we're not in a mode — just because our record is what it is — to dump salary," Pelekoudas said. "That's not the motive behind any of our moves right now. The motive behind our moves is to try to get better. And if we can make trades that make us better either now and for the future, those are the kinds of moves we're going to make."
There are some who insist the Mariners can get better by shipping the remaining $13.7 million owed Washburn through the 2009 season to the New York Yankees right now. And that unloading Ibanez to the New York Mets, or Chicago Cubs, for just one top prospect, instead of the two Pelekoudas is reportedly demanding, would be more beneficial than keeping an aging left fielder.
The case for dealing Rhodes, to either the Florida Marlins or Milwaukee Brewers, is even more compelling. At age 38, on a last-place team unlikely to contend in 2009, it makes sense to trade him for even the mid-level prospect the Mariners are said to want.
Rhodes didn't enhance his trade value any in this one, taking the loss after starter Miguel Batista gave up three runs — only two earned — over six innings and left with the game tied at 3. The third walk issued by Rhodes, to Marlon Byrd, was on a pitch that appeared to go down the heart of the plate.
"I'm not going to comment on that," Rhodes said. "I'm out there making good pitches, and the ball's over the plate."
Rhodes and Rangers lefty Eddie Guardado are on the shopping lists of both the Marlins and Brewers. They each came on to pitch in the eighth inning, with Guardado retiring the side in order and picking up the win.
Things are a little more complicated in the cases of Washburn and Ibanez.
With his high salary, the Mariners might hold on to Washburn and try to move him before the Aug. 31 deadline for dealing players after first putting them through waivers. Washburn will likely clear waivers in any deal, or else the claiming team would have to eat his salary in any event — a win-win situation for the Mariners as long as he keeps pitching well and there's continued interest.
In Ibanez's case, both the Cubs and Mets are said to be unwilling to meet Seattle's asking price of two prospects. M's manager Jim Riggleman said he doesn't know whether the passing of today's deadline will lighten the mood on a team that's lost nine of 11.
The Mariners had their chances, loading the bases with none out in the seventh only to see Willie Bloomquist thrown out at the plate on Ibanez's fly out to right. Bloomquist, who started at shortstop, had been the cutoff man on a fifth-inning relay by left fielder Ibanez and thrown out Jarrod Saltalamacchia at the plate.
• Bloomquist got the nod at shortstop and Yuniesky Betancourt sat out Wednesday's game. The move came one night after Betancourt botched a bunt with the runner at third streaking home. Mariners manager Riggleman said the move was more to give Betancourt a rest, but added that he could tell from the infielder's body language he was frustrated by his continued struggles.
• Mariners reliever J.J. Putz on Wednesday blamed the two-run double hit by Ramon Vazquez, which ended Tuesday's game, on a split-fingered fastball that didn't break. Instead, the ball went straight over the heart of the plate, similar to Putz's struggles his last time out in Toronto which he blamed on rustiness. "It's going to take time before it's back to where I want it," Putz said.
Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For the record
vs. AL West: 12-19
vs. L.A.: 3-6
vs. Oakland: 4-5
vs. Texas: 5-8
vs. AL East: 11-23
vs. AL Cent.: 8-16
vs. NL: 9-9
vs. LHP: 10-21
vs. RHP: 30-46
Extra inn.: 2-6
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
UPDATE - 8:27 PM
Catcher Gregg Zaun retires after 16 seasons
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