Glaus vs. Rolen: At Third Base for the Cards

A trade of veteran, injury-slowed third basemen between the St. Louis Cardinals and Toronto Blue Jays is complete, Scott Rolen for Troy Glaus.

Disgruntled third baseman Scott Rolen of the St. Louis Cardinals has been traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for third baseman Troy Glaus. The deal is complete now that both players have passed physical examinations with their new clubs. Each already waived their respective no-trade clauses. MLB also approved the trade, implying that more than $1 million is traveling north with Rolen. A Toronto source pegged the sweetener at $3 million.

The 32-year-old Rolen is damaged goods both physically, coming off three shoulder surgeries and relationship-wise, with long standing issues with the Cardinals medical staff and Manager Tony La Russa. He is due $36 million over the next three years to complete an eight-year, $90 million extension signed in September, 2002, shortly after he joined the Cardinals in trade from Philadelphia.

Glaus, 31, will receive $12.75 million in 2008 in the final year of his current, four-year, $45 million deal signed before the 2005 season. He also has a player option for 2009 at $11.25 million which is reported to have been exercised at the Cardinals' insistence before the deal was agreed-to.

Other than one year, 2005 with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Glaus has spent his entire career in the American League. He was originally drafted in the first round by the Anaheim Angels back in 1997, the same year Rolen was National League Rookie of the Year. Glaus led the AL in home runs with 47 in 2000, also his career high.

A big man like Rolen, the 6-foot-5, 240-pounder was a teammate of David Eckstein, Adam Kennedy and Scott Spiezio on the Halos' 2002 World Championship club, for which he earned the World Series Most Valuable Player Award. Defensively, Glaus once had a strong throwing arm also like Rolen, but required shoulder surgery after the 2004 season and has lost some range in the field as well.

The Angels decided not to assume the risk of a long-term contract coming off the shoulder problems and two straight years of having Glaus' services only roughly half time, letting him walk that off-season. He signed that $45 million deal with the Diamondbacks, but was shipped to Toronto a year later in the deal that brought Orlando Hudson and Miguel Batista to the desert.

Glaus hit a total of 75 home runs for the Jays in the 2005 and 2006 seasons before being limited to 115 games in 2007 due to a foot problem likely aggravated by the hard turf in Toronto's Rogers Centre. In September, he underwent nerve decompression surgery on his left foot after reports said he had been suffering from plantar faascitis all season long.

That same month, Glaus was reported to have received performance-enhancing drugs in 2003 and 2004 and as a result, was questioned by the commissioner's office. He was also named in the December Mitchell Report as having purchased nandrolone and testosterone from the New Hope Health Center in California between September 2003 and May 2004, but it was a restatement of the earlier charges. Glaus was apparently not disciplined by the commissioner's office because there was insufficient evidence of a violation.

Rolen is a five-time All-Star with seven Gold Glove Awards and a Silver Slugger to his credit. Glaus has been selected to the All-Star squad four times and has a pair of Silver Slugger Awards.

Glaus is stronger against left-handed pitchers (.286/.407/.578) than right (.244/.341/.475) while Rolen has been more consistent over time. Glaus is known for struggling in the heat of the summer, often enduring long batting slumps in June and July. Over their careers, both players have most often been in the cleanup position in their respective lineups.

I offer the following graph with my comparative assessment of the two third basemen. Glaus gets the nod in the power category, especially given Rolen's open questions, as well as in the batting eye column. While Rolen's career OBP is higher, Glaus typically tacks 100 points onto his batting average by taking walks.

Glaus also gets the edge in the intangibles, having avoided the negative stigma that followed Rolen from Philly to St. Louis. Rolen remains the better option with the glove. The two are scored as comparable in age and speed.

Rolen

Glaus

Comments
Health

shoulder

knee +

Glaus also had major shoulder surgery in '04-'05
Age

32

31

Both seem to be on career downside
Power      Glaus' home run peak in '00 but hit 75 in '05-'06.
Speed     Neither are speedy but both are nimble
Eye     Glaus adds 100 pts to average in OBP yearly
Defense     Shoulder turned Glaus into an average 3B
Intangibles     Glaus has been traded once, but has + reputation, though steroid allegations hurt
Contract

3y/$36M

2y/$24M

Edge to Cardinals as they can escape sooner if injuries continue

Given the entirety of Rolen's situation, securing Glaus in return for the battered and angry Redbird looks like a reasonable take.



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

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