Cincinnati Reds: Walt Jocketty Also Has "His Boys"

Illya Harrell@illya_1971Analyst IIJuly 13, 2009

CHICAGO - APRIL 22: Scott Rolen #27 of the St. Louis Cardinals runs around second base with a two-run triple in the 9th inning against the Chicago Cubs on April 22, 2007 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cardinals defeated the Cubs 12-9 in 10 innings. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

When I woke up this morning and saw that the Cincinnati Reds' had recalled Adam Rosales to fill the vacant roster spot, courtesy of Jay Bruce's broken wrist, the second word I thought was "trade".  The first word is not printable.

This Thursday, my "Spidey Sense" tells me that we will have traded Edwin Encarnacion and possibly a highly touted outfielder (either Drew Stubbs or Chris Heisey) to the Blue Jays for Scott Rolen.

Usually when I write an article that involves my "Spidey Sense" they turn out to be false alarms.  For the sake of the Reds and we, the fans, I hope this is once again the case.

Since coming over from St. Louis, Walt Jocketty has been nothing but an impediment as General Manager.  I sometimes wonder if he is not still on the Cardinals' payroll—acting as a double agent to ruin any chances of success in Cincinnati.

Signing Willy Taveras?  Trading Jeff Keppinger when you know your everyday shortstop is an injury waiting to happen?  And now on the verge of trading the future for a very expensive and injury prone third baseman because he is one of "your boys"

Admittedly, I have hopped on and off the Edwin bandwagon more times than I can count, but to bring in Rolen to replace him would be another of Jocketty's unforgivable mistakes.   

Rolen is having a great comeback season—and may continue to due so.  He's hitting .325 with a .385 OBP.  He plays gold glove caliber defense.

But he is a liability.  In his last five seasons, Rolen has batted more than 500 times in just one of them.  He is 34-years-old. 

Rolen is currently one-quarter the way through a two-year contract that pays roughly $12 million a year.  Which would make him, by far, the highest paid offensive player on the Reds' roster for the next season and a half.

Not a risk worth taking.

By contrast, Encarnacion is a 26-years-old who is closing, but not yet, into the prime years of his career.  He is set to make around $2.5 million next season.

Edwin started the year by making Mario Mendoza look like an all-star.  However, it was discovered that he was playing with a gimpy wrist.  After an extended stint on the DL he is back and hitting again.

Folks in Reds' country are divided on Edwin's defensive capability. 

There is no doubt that Rolen is better. 

But I am of the opinion that for every errant throw Edwin makes he reaches at least ten balls that would go through the infield if the Reds were playing average defensive third basemen. 

This was proven while he was on the DL and the Reds were forced to play the Jerry Hairston Jr./Rosales combo at third.

Offensively, in the three seasons prior to 2009, their stats are almost identical.

Rolen's numbers from 2006-2008:  .276 AVG, .352 OBP, 41 HR

Edwin's numbers from the same period:  .271 AVG, .350 OBP, 57 HR

A case could easily be made that this isn't even a good short term deal.  Long term, forget about it—not even close.


• Rolen is eight years older than Edwin. 

• Rolen's services would cost approximately $14 million.

• Rolen is much more injury prone.

• Their offensive numbers are almost identical.

• Defensively Rolen gets the edge—if he stays healthy

Unless the Reds really turn it on in the second half, a playoff appearance is very doubtful.

But they are still building and have endured some serious hard luck injuries this season.  Brandon Phillips is their only star offensive player in the prime of his career.  They have at least four bats that have yet to reach their full potential.

Playoff runs are coming very soon—possibly next year.

For a small market team like the Reds to commit $14 million until the end of next season on a big-time question mark third baseman makes no sense.

So please, Walt, do not bring "your boy" Rolen to Cincinnati.  Save the $14 million for the offseason and spend it on an arm.  That or buy yourself a yacht or something. 

Just don't make this deal.



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