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Orix Buffaloes give up on Tuffy Rhodes

by on Jan.23, 2010 @ 10:14 pm, under NPB

Looks like the Orix Buffaloes are giving up on Tuffy Rhodes.  General manager Yoshio Murayama told reporters that the team will not be re-submitting any new offers to Rhodes.  The club originally set a deadline for later this month, but now that they have signed So Taguchi, Rhodes no longer appears to have a place with the team.

I wonder if Rhodes still wants to play in Japan.  Based on how the media has handled this story, it seems like he no longer does.  But I'm guessing there's got to be more going on here than what the media is letting out.

5 comments on “Orix Buffaloes give up on Tuffy Rhodes

  1. JasonP

    It’s interesting that there haven’t been any announcements or anything from Rhodes or his agent in all of this. It would be a shame for his career to just end with not so much as a peep. It’s also sad how relatively little they were offering him, one of the best power hitters in the league, even at his age. A paltry couple million dollars (at least paltry compared to what a player of his calibre would command in the US) is near insulting.

  2. Gen Post author

    I think there was some concern about his age and whether or not he’d be able to play out a full season. I also don’t think he won over too many supporters by leaving Japan before the end of the season. He may have had his reasons, but Japanese teams can be really picky about those kinds of things.

    There’s also the issue of Akinobu Okada taking over as manager. Right from the very start he said that he didn’t want to rely on foreign power that much. He may not have ultimately wanted Rhodes back.

    Still, I do agree that it is a bit strange that nothing the Rhodes’ camp has said nothing. Seems like something could / should have been said, either here in Japan or in the States, but nothing. It’s almost like he just got tired of it all and wanted to disappear.

  3. JasonP

    I don’t think his leaving early meant anything as all of the gaijin players left when there was no more hope of reaching the playoffs. I really don’t get any concerns about his health and being able to play out a season. This past season he missed time because he broke his hand getting hit by a pitch, not because of a pulled muscle or tendon. He was on fire when he got beaned, leading the league in HR and 2nd in hitting.

    Orix will likely finish last again in 2010, as they really haven’t made any improvements in their lineup or management. I don’t understand what they think So Taguchi is going to do for them, he was never more than a slightly above average player, and he’s only about 10 months younger than Rhodes.

    I would have loved to see some last place MLB team take a chance on Tuffy for a single season at DH, just so he could have a chance and a decent payday to close out his career. Just a dream, I know.

    1. Gen Post author

      I think you may have misunderstood my point about Rhodes leaving before the season ends.

      I know players do it and that it isn’t all that uncommon, but if you think the other players or the front office likes seeing their foreigners leave early, then I think you’re highly mistaken.

      Sometimes it’s the small things like that that can make a big difference.

      And while I agree his injury last season had nothing to do with shortcomings in his conditioning, at 41, he’s no Spring chicken either. And in looking at Rhodes and Taguchi, I’d probably pick Rhodes to get injured sooner than Taguchi. It might be a misperception on my part, but it seems like Taguchi might be in better shape than Rhodes.

      You also paint his 320M yen (about $3.5M) contract from 2009 as being really low, but if I’m not mistaken, he was the highest paid play on the roster. You simply can’t compare the salaries in Japan to that of the US because it’s a completely different field.

      FYI: the top paid position player in the NPB last season was Tomoaki Kanemoto at 550M yen (about $6M). That’s peanuts compared to what the top position play in the MLB earned — A-Rod with $33M in 2009.

      This is part of the reason why some players in Japan want to go to the US.

      And speaking of Kanemoto, he played out a full season and didn’t exactly have an awful season, but he saw his salary drop 100M yen this year.

      That said, I’m not saying Rhodes necessarily deserved a pay cut. But if you miss as many games as he did, and if you base salaries on final performance numbers, then it’s only natural you’ll see a drop in pay.

      What I’m wondering is what kind of incentive clauses the Buffaloes were offering and why Rhodes and his agent never got back to the them. Based on what the media is reporting, negotiations just sort of stopped at one point. Was that because he was so offended by their offers he just didn’t want to bother replying? Perhaps we’ll never know.

  4. paul

    I do think it’s a shame that Tuffy Rhodes was so
    unceremoniously let go by Orix. Yes he’s getting
    older and his value may have gone down due to age
    and potential of injury…but he deserves better!
    He not only has been the most productive Gaijin in
    NPB history, but also has assimilated into the Japan
    life style, learning the language, etc. He and the
    Lee Brothers should be the poster boys for Gaijin in
    NPB! It’s sad that Japanese baseball has followed the MLB template of the bottom line! It’s extremely sad
    that Wa has been replaced by money and “what have you
    done for me lately?” Japan baseball should have retained their dignity and not followed MLB with hired
    guns! I’ll miss you Tuffy…thanks for the memories!

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