What Can the Cincinnati Reds Expect from Scott Rolen and 3rd Base This Season?

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistFebruary 17, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 12:  Scott Rolen #27 of the Cincinnati Reds sits in the dugout before their game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on June 12, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Reds have made some major moves this offseason, in the hopes of being a World Series Contender in 2012.

One glaring potential weakness of the well-rounded Reds is third base. The team thus far has chosen to not address the position, but rather work with what they already have on the roster.

This means the Reds are hoping Scott Rolen can come back healthy. It also means the team thinks they may have something in Juan Francisco and Todd Frazier. They are also very comfortable with the veteran Miguel Cairo.

If Rolen can somehow manage to play around 100 games this season, the problem solves itself. One problem—that won’t happen. Rolen turns 37 just before opening day, and it’s near impossible to name players that old who have started that many games.

Rolen has told the club he feels good, which is a great sign. If Dusty Baker can utilize him properly, possibly giving him a couple games off a week, he could be healthy when it matter the most—in the postseason.

Francisco is an interesting option because he was set to be the starter in Rolen’s absence last year, but battled injuries. Francisco is one of the most powerful hitters on the team, and drastically improved his defense last season.

If Francisco sees enough playing time at third this year, he could be the heir-apparent at the position once Rolen bows out of baseball for good.

Frazier is another intriguing candidate. The talent is there, but he has put up some average numbers in the minor leagues. He will probably be the last person to see the field if all other options have been exhausted.

Rolen will likely see a trip to the disabled list a few times this season. His presence alone is arguably his most valuable asset to the club at this point.  The veteran leadership that Rolen possesses is hard to find in any sport, and the Reds need Rolen to continue to provide it.

It seems the Reds are content with a platoon at third base. If the gamble pays off, the Reds could be destined for a deep playoff run.

How do you see the third base dilemma playing out for the Reds in 2012?