Toronto Baseball Guys
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
  The Scott Rolen Trade in 8 Points
1. "Trading Scott Rolen but not Roy Halladay means the Jays are an organization in total disarray." - This was the popular topic being tossed around on the Fan Radio's Prime Time Sports the other day. Actually, it just represents that Rolen wanted a trade, and that J.P. Ricciardi didn't get the swag he needed to part with Halladay.

2. Rolen had done this before. Both in Philadelphia and St. Louis, Rolen had greased the skids for his own departure, after feuding with Phillies management and badly wanting to get away from Tony LaRussa. Rolen's request for a trade is more telling about the player than the organization.

3. The Jays save a bunch of payroll for this season and next because they are now off the hook for the last season and a half of Rolen's 8-year/$90 million contract.

4. "Edwin Encarnacion is a bum" - Bob McCowan's terse dismissal of the Jays' new third baseman, based on Sun Media's Bob Elliott statement that scouts agree that Encarnacion "isn't a third baseman." He's certainly not in Rolen's league as a defender, but he's only 26 and has a career OPS of .791. He also launched 26 home runs last season. Simply put, if the Philadelphia Phillies can win a championship with Pedro Feliz at third base, it's possible to win with Edwin Encarnacion.

5. The rest of the swag. Early reports of Rolen for top prospect Yonder Alonso were indeed too good to be true, but Josh Roenicke and Zach Stewart aren't bad. Both are strikeout-an-inning relievers, and Roenicke was closing games in AAA. Coming up with a few cheap years of closer-like relief ought to prevent another B.J. Ryan debacle.

6. Curse of The Hot Corner? Encarnacion better hope that the Jays don't trade him. Witness the last few third basemen the Jays have dealt:

Shea Hillenbrand: hitting .310 when traded, out of baseball within two years.
Corey Koskie: suffered a career-ending concussion with the Brewers.
Troy Glaus: decent first season with St. Louis, has yet to take the field in 2009 due to injury.
Scott Rolen: beaned in his second game with the Reds and has been out of the lineup since.

7. Sadly, the trade will cost Rolen his eighth Gold Glove, as players who switch leagues mid-season almost never receive award consideration. Too bad, too, because with incumbent Adrian Beltre on the shelf for most of the year, it was Rolen's to lose.

8. Does this trade make any sense from the Reds point of view? Let's see, we're tied for last, 15 games under .500. Our nominal #1 starter is out for a year with Tommy John surgery... time to deal some young pitchers to add that 34-year-old making $11 million! This seems like the antithesis of the trades the Reds ought to be making if they intend to rebuild.

To sum up, the Jays shed payroll and add a couple of promising, unproven arms in exchange for a player who wanted out. Not a bad haul for J.P. Ricciardi, though not nearly enough to stem the media choir that is wailing for his head, his genius license long having been revoked since the Jays' 27-14 start.
 
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