The Baltimore Orioles told Arthur Rhodes's agent that the reliever almost certainly would be traded. Rhodes prepared for the news. General Manager Frank Wren worked deep into Saturday night to put together a deal. However, Rhodes was not traded. That does not mean he won't be.
Although much was discussed, the Orioles came to the finish line of Saturday's trade-deadline sprint having made only one deal -- sending Juan Guzman and $900,000 to the Cincinnati Reds for minor league pitchers B.J. Ryan and Jacobo Sequea.
Trades may still be made, but players must first clear waivers. Judging by how close Wren came to sending Rhodes to the New York Yankees, it appears those discussions may continue.
"There is a decent chance" the Orioles might still trade, Wren said. "As we go along, we'll see what happens, and see who can clear waivers."
"Everybody thinks the trading period is the end, but that's not true," Manager Ray Miller said. "A lot of trades are made off waivers."
Wren would not discuss specifics of his talks with the Yankees, but sources said they involved a pair of minor league prospects -- shortstop D'Angelo Jimenez, whom the Yankees were willing to give up, and pitcher Luis De Los Santos, whom they were not. The New York Mets also showed strong interest in Rhodes.
"There was quite a bit of interest in Arthur, but we didn't feel we got what would be of value," Wren said. "It doesn't make sense to give up on a player like Arthur Rhodes."
Today, as he sat at his locker putting on his uniform, Rhodes said he was relieved the trade deadline was past.
"I don't have all that stuff to worry about," he said. "I'm not even worrying about it now."
Although both Wren and Dan Horwits, Rhodes's agent, said today they are hopeful they can agree to a long-term contract, neither sounded optimistic. Rhodes, who is making $2.2 million this year, is seeking a four-year, $16 million contract; the Orioles are offering three years, at closer to $10 million. There have been no contract talks in weeks.
"I'm hoping to get a long-term deal here," Rhodes, 29, said today. "I want to stay in Baltimore, play for Baltimore and finish my career in Baltimore."
If a new contract is not worked out, the Orioles must either trade him or risk losing him to free agency at the end of the season, in which case they would be compensated with a draft pick.
To trade Rhodes after the deadline, he first would have to pass through waivers. If a team makes a claim, the Orioles would have 24 hours to trade him to that team, or pull him back off waivers.
Wren discussed trading other players in the hours leading up to the midnight deadline, and several of them, such as first baseman Will Clark, shortstop Mike Bordick and left-handed reliever Jesse Orosco, must be considered post-deadline trade possibilities, since their age or contract status likely would allow them to clear waivers.
The trade of Guzman, and the continuing talks about other trades, represent a partial concession on the part of the Orioles, who were 10 1/2 games out of wild-card contention when the clock struck midnight Saturday night.
"With the hole we've dug," Wren said, "it's difficult to think we're going to contend."
But Wren's trade with the Reds for Guzman was widely viewed around baseball as a shrewd move. The Orioles came away with two top pitching prospects -- Ryan, 23, is nearly ready for the major leagues in only his second year of professional baseball and Sequea, 17, was the 10th-rated prospect in the Reds' organization entering this season -- for a pitcher, Guzman, who is 18-31 over the last three seasons.