Scott Rolen: End of an Era at 3B for the Cincinnati Reds

Kyle NewportFeatured ColumnistOctober 27, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 31: Scott Rolen #27  of the Cincinnati Reds during the game against the San Diego Padres at Great American Ball Park on July 31, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Scott Rolen had a great MLB career, but it may be time for him to say goodbye to the Cincinnati Reds and the game.

The Reds traded multiple players, including Edwin Encarnacion for Rolen back in 2009. Some questioned the move because of Rolen's age and injury history. However, the move paid off.

Rolen made an immediate impact from the moment he came into the clubhouse. The Reds finished 2009 on a tear and carried the momentum into 2010. In two of his three full seasons with the team, the Reds won the National League Central.

Not only did the Reds do well, but Rolen also added to his great career. He won a Gold Glove in 2010 and made the NL All-Star team in 2010 and 2011. He made the key play by taking an extra base in 2010 and started at third base for the NL in 2011.

In 2010, he had a great all-around season. The veteran hit .300 through July and was fantastic on defense. Although he struggled hitting the rest of the season, he helped lead Cincinnati into the postseason for the first time in 15 years.

Injuries have been an issue for Rolen for years. When he played in only 65 games in 2011, the Reds failed to make the postseason.  When he has played in at least 90 games for Cincinnati, he has helped get his team into the playoffs.

His impact on the team cannot be overlooked. He provides leadership on a young team and has taught the team how to play the game the right way. The Reds were the most aggressive team on the basepaths in 2010, and the team has continued to try to take the extra base whenever possible.

Fans will blame Rolen for the Game 3 loss to the San Francisco Giants in this year's National League Division Series. With the go-ahead run at third and two outs in the 10th inning, he bobbled a grounder and could not recover in time to throw the runner out at first.

Cincinnati lost by one run, which made Reds fans blame Rolen. It was a tough play that not even Todd Frazier makes.

Rolen has been a class act since joining the Reds, but his time is up. The 37-year-old has battled injuries for years and has seen his hitting decline along the way.

If he is willing to come back to the team for cheap and accept a bench role, it would be hard for either side to decline. He is more likely to retire, but he has the ability to still play a part-time role. 

Arguably the best third baseman of all time, Rolen has left his mark on the game. There has been no third baseman with a better glove in the last 17 years.

He played for four teams in his career, and he will now wait for a very important call. He gets booed in Philadelphia, got forced out of St. Louis and did not play very long in Toronto. Could he go into Cooperstown as a Cincinnati Red?

Rolen has had a career worthy of the Hall of Fame. He was the best third baseman of his generation and has worked his way into earning a nomination for an invite into Cooperstown.