The Dodgers are apparently looking at Scott Rolen as a possibility for a part time bench/third base role, and I wanted to see what you guys thought of this. Of course I know I’m a bit late on this, but it looks like the Dodgers are trying to find a backup option, in case Luis Cruz doesn’t work out.
The problem is that the free agent market is picked clean. The third base options are awful. Rolen has been a solid player over the course of his 17 year MLB career, but age and injuries have cut into his playing time significantly over the last couple of seasons. Bill Shakin seems to think that the Dodgers could be a potential suitor for the veteran third baseman as he opines in his latest article.
Rolen is a 37 year old right handed third sacker, originally drafted by the Phillies in the second round of the 1993 amateur draft. Rolen came up with the Phillies in 1996, and spent about seven seasons in Philadelphia. During his time with the Phillies, Rolen was a 25-30 home run, 100 RBI guy, who batted anywhere between .270-.290 each year. Rolen then was traded to the Cardinals where he spent another six seasons or so, and was just as good as we was with the Phillies, although injuries severely limited his effectiveness. He spent about two years in Toronto after another trade, and then was traded to the Reds in 2009, where he has been ever since.
Rolen was able to revive his career in 2010 with the Reds when he posted a triple slash line of .285/.385/.497 with 20 home runs, and 83 RBI while playing in 133 games. But more shoulder injuries and age limited him to 65 games in 2011, and 92 games in 2012. Rolen has always been a very solid middle of the order type bat, and a very solid third baseman. Rolen won the 1997 NL Rookie of the year award, and went on to win 8 gold gloves, and garner seven all-star selections. Rolen is a career .281 hitter with a .365 OBP. He’s always had great plate discipline, averaging 70 walks per season. Rolen has 2,077 hits, 316 home runs, and an .855 career OPS. Rolen is one of only three other third baseman in Baseball history, who have collected 2,000 hits, 500 doubles, 300 home runs, and 1200 RBI. The other two were Chipper Jones, and George Brett.
Rolen has only been a third baseman throughout his career, and has never played first base. If the Dodgers were to sign him, my guess is it would be as a backup third baseman, pinch-hitter, and occasional starter. The veteran right hander is a god player. He’s always been. He’s just getting old, and past his prime. Last season he hit .245 with eight home runs, 39 RBI, in 330 plate appearances for the Reds. Rolen’s defensive skills are well known. He has a career +150 total runs above average at third base.
The Dodgers have not reached out to Rolen yet, but according to Shakin, he has expressed interest in staying close to his Indiana home. It appears whether he signs with the Reds or the Dodgers, it would be as a reserve/bench role. The Reds will be starting Todd Frazier at the hot corner, and have already notified Rolen that if they did bring him back, it would be as a part time player. Rolen has also talked about the chance that he could retire. The one interesting thing, is how well Rolen has hit at Dodger Stadium. According to Shakin, Rolen has hit .338 with a .955 OPS in 40 career games at Dodger Stadium. Rolen could be considered one of the better hitting opposing players in Dodger Stadium history.
Right now this is just speculation. I guess I would be ok with this if it happened, as long as it’s a part time position. The Dodgers are supposedly going with Luis Cruz at third base for next season. The Dodgers are just “internally discussing” Rolen. So this doesn’t mean that they’re even talking about signing him. Rolen received 6.5 million dollars with the Reds last season, so he would more than likely have to take a significant pay cut. That could come with an invite to spring training, but would he be able to get a guaranteed contract?
Rolen just might be perfect for the Juan Uribe role. You know, the aging third base veteran who can still play solid defense, but can no longer hits much anymore. The best part of that would be….He’s not Juan Uribe. We’ll keep you posted if we hear anything further. What do you think? Would Scott Rolen be a good addition to the Dodger bench, as third base insurance? Let us know in the comments.