Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Tuf-fy! Tuf-fy! 

I don't usually post random baseball transactions here, but I couldn't resist this one: The Cincinnati Reds signed outfielder Karl "Tuffy" Rhodes to a minor league contract.

Tuffy is famous for hitting 3 home runs on Opening Day 1994, then proceeding to suck for the remainder of his extremely brief major league career. (To this day, when Rotisserians pay too much to draft someone who had a great opening day, we loudly express our fears that "he'll go all Tuffy Rhodes" on us). Rhodes only hit a total of 10 home runs in the bigs. But he went to Japan in search of playing time, where he became -- as the Cincy Post puts it -- "a cult hero" -- averaging 36 homers a year.

The question, then: Could Tuffy return for a final productive season or two in Cincy? The folks at Sportsline -- where my fantasy baseball site resides -- opine that Rhodes is useless. And he's not exactly Cecil Fielder, who went to Japan for a year at age 25, then came back and became a HR king. Tuffy's 37. It's more analogous to Doug Flutie coming back to prove he belonged in the NFL after his CFL accomplishments.

So here's hoping that Tuffy somehow manages to crack the Reds roster, and takes over in center field when Ken Griffey Jr. pulls a hamstring while drinking a soda.

I'm going to go out on a crazy limb and say that his power prowess in Japan simply can't be discounted, and that he's gonna make it back.

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