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.

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.

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14 years ago

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.

14 years ago
Reply to  Nate

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.

14 years ago
Reply to  Jim

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.

14 years ago
Reply to  Jim

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.

14 years ago
Reply to  Jim

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