Monday, January 14, 2008

Rolen Flees to Canada

Scott Rolen, like any American avoiding confrontation, has moved to Canada.

{Moving to avoid potential bolt of lightning}

Seriously, Rolen escaped a noxious situation in St Louis when the Cardinals and Blue Jays agreed to swap injured third sackers. Cardinals get Troy Glaus, who's younger than Rolen and packs some thunder in his bat (he's right handed).

Glaus missed most of the second half last year with a foot injury, identified recently as plantar fascitis, the same thing that afflicted Pujols in 2005/06. He did pass a physical (as did Rolen).

I saw the rumors swirling about this deal but decided to refrain from comment until it was done, which it is as of this afternoon. Also I'd been swept away by Charger mania...until they won yesterday and now get to have their asses handed to them by New England (again).

Glaus was a fantasy stud last year until he got hurt. Rolen's shoulders haven't been completely right since his collision in the 2002 NLDS. Granted, he had productive years in 2003 and 2004, and his collision with Hee Sop Choi is the one that really screwed him up; but I wonder if his shoulder would have collapsed as badly as it did if it hadn't been injured 3 years prior.

On paper this does look like a good trade for the Cardinals.

I will be interested to hear what Rolen has to say at his next press conference, if he brings up the situation with LaRussa at all. If it were me, I'd let it go publicly, but use it to motivate me to a couple of great seasons in Toronto.

As for Glaus - the man can certainly hit, and his glove is at least average (several prognosticators say it's above average). Not much of a drop off from what Rolen could do; some would argue he's an improvement. Where will he hit in the lineup? Rolen hit fourth until his production sagged. Let's assume Tony won't hit Glaus 4th until he gets some familiarity with the new league, so the order could look like this:

SS Izturis
LF Duncan
1B Pujols
RF Ankiel
3B Glaus
CF Schumaker
C Molina
2B Kennedy
Pitchers spot

Just a guess, because I'd alternate my righty/lefty power. Ankiel's a better overall hitter than Duncan, and Duncan thrived hitting in front of Pujols in 2006 (which shouldn't be a surprise; I'd thrive hitting in front of Pujols). Glaus starts in an RBI slot in the order but doesn't have to shoulder the load of being the primary RBI guy right out the chute. The rest of the order I just filled in as I thought appropriate.

So this piece of off-season drama is resolved. Thanks, Scott Rolen, for the memories and the effort. Welcome, Troy Glaus. Good Luck.


Cardinal70 said...

While Ankiel might be the better hitter, he also hasn't had the ABs that Duncan has. I'd put him ahead of AP so that he'll get good pitches to hit, plus (as the better hitter) he's more likely to be on base when Pujols gets to the plate.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Duncan or Glaus in the 4 hole.

The Angry Rant said...

That's an interesting argument. Ankiel also has more speed than Duncan, so he might be a better fit than Duncan in the 2-hole.

However because I believe Ankiel is the better hitter, I see more teams being willing to pitch around AP to get to Duncan than to get to Ankiel - if Ankiel's audition last season is any indication, he will make teams pay for putting guys on base in front of him much more consistently than Duncan has to date.

Cardinal70 said...

That is possibly true, but Ankiel did tail off pretty dramatically after the HGH story, whether because of that stress or because pitchers started figuring him out. Until he gets on a streak and shows that he's made his adjustments, I don't think he'd be enough protection for Pujols.

Duncan may be hit or miss, but when he hits........