Scott Rolen

Roy Halladay is the hottest name on the trade market; making Toronto the center of the trade universe is the addition of Scott Rolen. The Jays have made Rolen available with a season and a half left on Rolen’s contract – one that includes a no-trade clause that Rolen would presumably waive to join a contender – Cots lists an “additional $4M bonus due to Rolen in 2010”, which raises the amount owed to 20 million. That’s a steep financial price to pay for a 34/35-year-old averaging 123 games the past three years.

Rolen is experiencing an inflated BABIP, raising his wOBA to .369 on the season. ZiPS suggests that’ll come back to Earth, but that he’s still an above average hitter moving forward. Gone are the days where Rolen would accumulate 15-20 runs on defense, but he’s still very much above average. So far his UZR/150 is 5.2, last year it was 8.5, and the year before 17.9.

Rolen should be an okay gamble for an additional season, but only for teams that can run the risk of a collapse. The Red Sox and Giants make the most sense. Boston has Mike Lowell eventually coming back, but in the meanwhile could maximize their roster by shifting Youkilis back to first and throwing Rolen in at third. You have some issues as to who plays when once Lowell returns, but I think that’s a problem Theo Epstein and Terry Francona wouldn’t mind. The Giants could shift Pablo Sandoval to first and upgrade their defense and offense at once.

Rolen’s not quite the catch he was in 2002 – when the Cardinals sent Placido Polanco, Bud Smith, and Mike Timlin to acquire him – but for a team in need of a third baseman with capable bat and glove in tow, he’s probably the best option remaining.

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