Back in 2009 when the Reds traded for Scott Rolen late in the summer just prior to MLB’s non-waiver trade deadline it left me scratching my head, why did they make this move? In fact, I wasn’t the only one thinking that, many of the so called “experts” were wondering the same thing. The Reds weren’t in contention, neither were the Blue Jays. Why make this move?
Well in 2010, we saw why. Scott Rolen’s hot start that season was one of the biggest reasons the Reds won the NL Central. We really only have to point to last year to see what happens when Rolen’s not healthy or performing. Rolen missed much of 2011 with back/shoulder issues and the Reds were left to scramble at third plugging in youngster Juan Francisco who had been tearing the cover off the ball in Louisville. 2011 didn’t go as expected for the Reds but it wasn’t all on Rolen. The Reds offense still managed to finish 2nd in runs scored, finished middle of the pack in team average, 4th in slugging, 5th in OPS. I honestly don’t know how much of an improvement Rolen’s bat would have given the offense.
What should the Reds expect from Rolen in 2012? Can he stay healthy? This will likely be his last year in Cincy with only one year left on his contract and he will be turning 37 this season. I’m hoping he can stay healthy for one more NL Central run. His numbers in 2010 in the first half were outstanding though it was clear in September, the playoffs and all of the 2011 season that Rolen wasn’t “right”.
What are your thoughts on the third base dilemma? Do you stick with Rolen? What if Francisco has a huge spring? Would you start him at third and have Rolen come off the bench in pinch hit/defensive sub rolls? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Only 4 more days till Pitchers and Catchers report!!! I’m getting Spring Fever!
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