Rolen to Cincy

Man-crushes can die hard. Reds’ GM Walt Jocketty has swapped Edwin Encarnacion, Josh Roenicke and Zachary Stewart for Scott Rolen. This is the second time Jocketty has traded for Rolen, but now under very different circumstances.

The Reds playoff hopes are nil, and this isn’t the same Scott Rolen of old. Granted, he’s hitting much closer to the Rolen of old with a .320/.370/.476 line, but that’s largely inflated by his .347 BABIP. Even with some falling off, Rolen still is an above average hitter at his position. His defense is no longer Brooks Robinson-esque, but he’s still slick with the leather – his UZR/150 last season was 8.5, this season 8.

Rolen is due around $20 million, including the rest of this year and the next, and reportedly Toronto is going to foot a portion of the bill. For the Reds’ sake let’s hope it is a good piece of the contract. Rolen is a moderately safe bet to be worth 2.5-3 WAR next year, and has upside to be worth 3.5-4 if he can stay healthy. That’s a big if. In the process, the Reds give up cheap players.

Edwin Encarnacion is due to make $4.75 million next year. With the stick, he’s fine, with the leather, he’s terrible – he’s been a career -12 UZR per 150 and is -23 per 150 this season. He’s probably a 1.5 win player next year, making his contract pretty fair.

Josh Roenicke looks like a decent middle reliever who will be glad to get off the Louisville-Cincinnati shuttle. His fastball has some giddyup and he throws a solid cutter as well.

Zachary Stewart is the “get” of the trade. He has a 92-95 MPH fastball with good sink and a hard cutting 82-85 MPH slider. He’s quickly climbed the ladder, pitching at High-A, Double-A and now Triple-A this season, and has a cumulative 2.92 FIP in 92 innings pitched. He pitched mostly out of the bullpen last year but is showing some good promise as a starter. He’s a solid B grade pitcher.

Rolen doesn’t make the Reds a contender next year, and he certainly doesn’t make them one this year. He’s a good player, but I just can’t understand this from Cincy’s perspective. Toronto must be be ponying up a lot of cash. Even if they are, I still can’t quite wrap my head around this.




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Erik Manning is the founder of Future Redbirds and covers the Cardinals for Heater Magazine. You can get more of his analysis and rantings in bite-sized bits by following him on twitter.


58 Responses to “Rolen to Cincy”

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  1. Nate says:

    Assuming Jay Bruce comes back healthy, then this could be a pretty great middle of the order next year with Votto, Phillips, Bruce and Rolen.

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    • Jim says:

      A couple of things:

      1. (Possibly) add Yonder Alonso in there as well–his name was heavily rumored to be the piece going back to Toronto for Rolen–luckily, they held onto him. He did recently break his right hammate bone, so he’ll need most of the rest of this year to recover, but he was raking at AA.

      2. It’s a good thing that they kept Alonso–having to surrender him to get Rolen would be an even heavier price than the one they paid. But does Votto go to LF to make room for Alonso at 1B, or what?(at when Alonso is ready, that is.)

      3. The Reds are going to regret giving up Zach Stewart–that’s a big get for the Jays.

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      • cpebbles says:

        Alonso hit .246/.309/.377 in a decent hitters’ park in AA and seems to have started to slip as a prospect. He’s still young, did okay in high-A, and we’re only talking a few weeks, but he has doubters.

        I like the move in a vacuum. I agree that it’s strange for the Reds to make it, unless Walt thinks he can get Rolen signed to a cheap extension to play close to home.

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      • Learycs says:

        cpebbles says:Alonso hit .246/.309/.377 in a decent hitters’ park in AA and seems to have started to slip as a prospect.

        In 61 at bats, in his first taste of Double-A. I think you’re overstating things a bit there.

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      • cpebbles says:

        I acknowledged that, but it was a response to the suggestion that he was “raking” at AA.

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  2. The story on The Fan 590 (the Toronto sports station) was that Rolen requested a trade closer to his home for family reasons.

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  3. joe says:

    One god damn word to describe the situation in Toronto:

    Ugh.

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  4. brent in Korea says:

    I liked this trade a lot more before I found out the Jays are send approx. 4 million to the Reds. Rolen was definitely getting popular with the fans, but it is still better than taking a bad deal on Halladay. Roenicke might be joining the Jays’ pen right away, so that helps the pain of losing Rolen.

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  5. brent in Korea says:

    I think JP will have gotten the better of that Glaus/Rolen deal now. It looked pretty uneven last year. Things can change fast though.

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  6. Ed Nelson says:

    Will Encarnacion play at 3rd in Toronto or move to the outfield?

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    • Michael says:

      I think Bautista will slide into the empty slot at 3B, Lind will move to LF and Encarnacion will see a good chunk of the DH duties.

      Anything to keep his wretched glove off the field is a huge plus for the Jays. Gotta love the AL for that DH thingy!

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  7. DR says:

    Given park factors and the change in league, there’s a good chance EE is bad at the plate and in the field in Toronto.

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  8. Matt B, says:

    As an avid Jays fan, it was a treat to watch Scott Rolen in the field. Even in his ‘declining’ years he played a solid 3b. It’s been a while since I was able to watch a good fielding 3b in T.Dot. Memories of Troy Glaus comes to mind, making Rolen look Pedroia-esque.

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  9. From Toronto’s perspective what’s the point of trading one piece of the 2010 roster and not any of the others? We’re going to lose Scutaro in the off-season, Overbay is still hanging around and we have a few replacement level pitchers in that we could deal for assets. As things are shaping up the 2010 team will win it’s 75 – 80 games, no more or no less. How about some direction? Either go for it or blow it up! Don’t trade one player because he ‘requests it’.

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    • Matt B, says:

      Hate to say it, but trading Doc would’ve been the right move to make. It’s in every paper in TO, this is the 3rd toughest media market in the GAME. JP is (and has been) grilled for 5-6 years of his 7 year run. But who am I to question a pro-GM? If he said the deal wasn’t there, I’ll believe him.

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  10. Ryan says:

    The fandom here in Cincy disagrees with you, Erik. Z. Stewart apparently was our price to pay for NOT having to watch EE anymore.

    I think when Keith Law called Y. Betancourt potentially the ‘worst regular in the majors’, I think he might have listed EasyE second. His offense AND defense were totally unacceptable, and he continually regressed. Big addition by subtraction here, and Rolen is just the icing.

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    • rizzo says:

      Actually Law thinks the Reds made a poor trade, which of course they did. Never will understand why they didn’t give Eddie Error a shot at LF, give his offense a chance to blossom. Oh wait, I forgot they have Nix and Gomes at LF. Certainly can’t block THOSE bats……

      Meanwhile the ‘price’ of Stewart now means the Reds have no SP prospects in the minors.

      But hey Rolen’s only what, 35 years old with a bad back, I have no doubt he’ll still be a big contributor once the Reds are contenders

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      • Chris says:

        Speak for yourself, Ryan. I hate the trade. Granted, I never got as emotionally invested in Encarnacion’s inconsistent defense as some Reds fans, but how can you spend all these resources to slightly upgrade 3b, and still trot Willy Taveras and Alex Gonzalez out there every day?

        Add up what EE will contribute in 2011, the extra $6M in cost, and the entire careers of Stewart and Roenecke — Rolen’s has to be THAT MUCH better than EE in 2010 for it to be worthwhile.

        And frankly, the difference not only needs to be significant, it needs to put the 2010 Reds in the playoffs. An upgrade from 80 wins to 84 won’t make me feel good when Stewart is pitching in Toronto 10 years from now.

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      • timb says:

        Travis Wood begs to differ, but otherwise, dead on

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    • timb says:

      As a Reds fans, let me just say that’s an insane response. Edwin hit 26 HR’s last year in a shambles of a line -up. Since returning from the DL, he hit quite well and continued his un-Cincinnati like habit of walking. The idea he regressed when he had 100 healthy AB’s all season long is typical Cincinnati talk and why the Reds are tied with the Piates. A team that cannot score has given away 60+ homers and (with the OBP of Phillips, Taveras, Gonzales, etc) 60+ RBI’s and received a china doll third baseman who hamstrings the payroll for next season and Micah Oqings.

      Nice job, Walt.

      Makes me wonder if anyone ever saw Aramis Ramirez play in Pittsburgh, ’cause I remember the 35 errors.

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  11. Grant says:

    Bautista’s wretched defence? RZR says he is the best 3B in the game, though in reality he’s probably just above average-very good.

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    • maguro says:

      Bautista’s always been a lousy fielder at third, if his stats look good this year it’s due to small sample size.

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  12. Ryan says:

    Keith Law thought the Phillies Raul Ibanez free agent acquistion was a ‘poor signing’. He’s a smug, unqualified talent evaluator. His drafts during his time in Toronto yielded zilch. Plus, he was there when they signed Wells and Ryan to those icky contracts.

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    • maguro says:

      But he reads a lot of books!

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    • Joe R says:

      Cause everyone could’ve predicted the season Ibanez is having, right?

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    • Ryan W says:

      1. Law’s thought that Ibanez would be productive for at least the first year of his contract, but he called the contract “absurd” because Philly signed him before it was clear the free agent market had collapsed and that Ibanez could become a total liability by the time the contract ends when is 39 years old. Besides, who knew Pat’s Bat(tm) would fall off a cliff and Ibanez would have an outlier season at his age?

      2. For what its worth, he frequently complains in his chats that Ricciardi often ignored the advice of his analysts when making roster decisions, including the Wells contract, the Ryan contract, and drafting Ricky Romero over Troy Tulowitzki. Unless I missed it, he hasn’t said much about that last move lately.

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    • Jaybird says:

      Ryan, yes. Vernon Wells, no. He even went on to claim that Vernon Wells told the Jays that he would not sign a contract extension.

      Also, we don’t know how much of BJ Ryan signing was of Ketih Law’s doing. For all we know, he may have disagreed with the signing.

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  13. Ryan says:

    Travis Wood is in AAA now, by the way Rizzo. He’s the next impact starter in Cincy

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    • rizzo says:

      Hey, I’m a Reds fan too, wish I could be optimistic about the trade. So who exactly is behind Wood? Do you really think the Reds are going to be contenders while Rolen is still viable? If so, based on what?

      By the way Volquez had another set back and is likely headed for surgery. Dusty bites again!

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    • Doug Gray says:

      Ryan,
      Travis Wood isn’t an impact starter. I like the kid, but he is a 5’11” skinny lefty who tops out around 90 MPH and works 86-89 MPH with his fastball.

      Zach Stewart is a bigger (bulk, not so much taller) guy with TWO plus pitches (FB up to 96 with good sink and a slider) to go with control.

      The Reds have 0 guys above Low A who project to be better than a #4 starter in the major leagues. Glad they traded the only one they had to acquire a 35 year old oft injured 3B for a run at 83 wins next year!

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  14. Rob says:

    “Oh wait, I forgot they have Nix and Gomes at LF. Certainly can’t block THOSE bats……”

    Gomes has been hitting very well in Cincy since he was brought up from the Minors. Play a guy while he’s hot…that’s the idea. Gomes has been hot the majority of the time here. And he really hasn’t been bad defensively either.

    Nix on the other hand is like watching paint dry. Strikes out every-other at-bat, makes errors that Little Leaguers rarely make. It’s awful to watch.

    “Actually Law thinks the Reds made a poor trade, which of course they did. Never will understand why they didn’t give Eddie Error a shot at LF, give his offense a chance to blossom.”

    HE CAN’T THROW!! Just about all of his errors are throwing errors. He has been in the major leagues for 5 years now, and is nearing 27 years old. How much more time does he need for his offense to “blossom?” He’s gotten worse year-by-year, and is probably the most streaky hitter in Major League Baseball. Hit ups and downs are like a bi-polar child: One month, 7 homers and 20 RBIs while batting .300. The next month, 2 homers 7 RBIs while batting .198 – He has EXTREME streaks, and it’s hard to watch at times.

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  15. wrongarm300 says:

    I understand the frustration with trading away Stewart, but in all honesty, when are the Reds going to need their youngsters to rise to the majors? Volquez, Cueto, Bailey, Maloney are all young. Harang, Arroyo aren’t exactly fossils and, from what I understand, Lehr pitched well once he got his nerves settled tonight.

    As for trading EE, Rolen is now the stop-gap until Todd Fraizer is ready for the majors. So we get a clubhouse leader and solid MLB player for a poor fielding/streaky hitting 3rd baseman, bullpen fodder (yes, I liked Josh, but Carlos Fischer will do) and a potentially solid starting pitcher.

    Count me in the thumbs up section of this one.

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    • Matt B, says:

      A team that doesn’t spend ludicrous amounts of money need their youngsters coming up year in and year out to remain competitive both on and off the field.

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    • timb says:

      Frazier’s playing second now! Rolen’s holding third for Neifi Soto

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  16. Joey says:

    As a thirty yr old reds fan who has followed the team for 21 painful years……I am super pissed about this trade.

    Like a previous poster wrote, a team like Cincy cannot give up its cheap young players in deals like this. IF THE REDS were say, 2 games back, all our pitching was healthy, and just needed an upgrade at 3B, I MIGHT consider this a regrettable but necessary move……but that’s not the situation. You trade your young talent for IMPACT players….which Rolen really isn’t anymore. On my way home from work I wanted to drive home, park, and light my Reds hat on fire. I am sick of this crap. DUSTY BAKER SUCKS AND ABSOLUTELY MUST GO.

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    • Andrew says:

      Dusty Baker sucks, but this move is all Walt Jocketty with his man-crush on Rolen from when he was in St. Louis… I do not think Dusty has been approved to make trades… God help us if he were given that responsibility

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  17. mark says:

    I like the trade!! Anytime you can get rid of EE who was batting what .200. Rolen is batting .320. Plus a leader in the clubhouse!! Something the Reds desperatly needed!! Plus he wanted to be here!! Yes, I hate getting rid of young pitching, but we don’t know whats going to happen in the next 2 to 3 weeks in the trade market. Harrang, Arroyo, Weathers, Cordero. You know nobody will pick up three of the four off of waivers with what they are making. So we might have a chance to get rid of one or two of them.
    Now the coaching staff is another topic. Like Cowboy says on the telecasts, our pitchers have no idea of how to pitch early in the games. Being down after the first inning time and time again is getting old!! Our hitting coach is doing a great job also!! NOT!! What we have one .300 hitter in the lineup!!

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  18. Andy says:

    As a Reds fan I hate this trade. Why give up 3 players whose best years are ahead of them for a player whose best years are behind him? So he helps the Reds win 2 more games this year. Who cares! This season is over. Look forward to the future and the Reds future is more bleak after this trade. Oh yea, I forgot Rolen’s “veteran leadership” and “presence in the clubhouse”.

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  19. Lex Logan says:

    The only way this trade makes sense for Cincy is if Rolen gives them the sort of leadership they desperately need. That’s WJ’s rationalization for this trade and I hope he’s right.

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  20. Tony says:

    The Reds also drafted Mike Leake in the first round this year and he should be a fast mover. This trade must mean that the Reds think they can compete in 2010. They need a solution at SS and LF and hope that Volquez is able to go next year. If they don’t adress these other issues, I don’t understand this trade.

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    • timb says:

      Well said, Tony. Only if they somehow manage to find a quality SS, a decent left-fielder, and a faith healer for Volquez can they compete. Since they won’t do any of those things and just tell me the 2009 team lost due to injuries, I will remain as offended by this trade as I was on Friday afternoon

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  21. Dude says:

    The losing stops now!!!!!!!!!!

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    • Jim says:

      I hear that the more exclamation points someone uses, the quicker your team starts to win!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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      • Joe R says:

        RED SOX TO THE SERIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        I ctrl+v’d that shit

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      • Joe R says:

        That ended up way more obnoxious than I intended it to be.

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  22. Wrighteous says:

    rolen = juicer.

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  23. humor says:

    Superb article, I would thank to writer coz’ i’ve found many good info. Keep it going! :). Bye!:)

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