Blue Jays, Cardinals Exchange Disgruntled Vets

The Deal
The Blue Jays and Cardinals finalized their exchange of all-star third basemen Troy Glaus and Scott Rolen on Monday, in a move aimed to appease the disgruntled veterans. Both Glaus and Rolen had asked to be traded this offseason.
The Big Leaguers
Rolen joins his third organization after leaving the previous two under similar conditions—namely, personality clashes with his manager. The Phillies rashly traded Rolen, their second-round pick in 1993 from an Indiana high school, to the Cardinals at the 2002 deadline because he and skipper Larry Bowa didn’t see eye to eye. Now, after an offseason of public feuding with St. Louis manager Tony La Russa, Rolen heads north of the border. A five-time all-star, seven-time Gold Glove winner and 1997 NL Rookie of the Year, Rolen has hit .283/.372/.507 with 261 home runs and 1,012 RBIs in 1,505 career games. Two of his worst seasons have come in the past three years, though, as the 32-year-old Rolen has battled injuries to both shoulders. Interestingly, one of the reasons Rolen cited for wanting out of Philadelphia—Veterans Stadium’s hard artificial turf—will surface again in 2008 as he contends with the Rogers Centre’s FieldTurf.

Glaus’ recent track record is more impressive than Rolen’s. But like Rolen, Glaus was hampered by injuries in 2007—though he still managed to hit .262/.366/.473 with 20 bombs. Playing on Toronto’s FieldTurf didn’t help Glaus as he recovered from a left toe injury, and his season was further wrecked when his name appeared in December’s Mitchell Report on performance-enhancing drugs use in baseball. Glaus has made four all-star teams and he won MVP honors inthe 2002 World Series. He’s a classic slugger with 277 career homers, including two 40-homer seasons—and the strikeout totals to match. Glaus, 30, has batted .254/.358/.500 in his 10-year career. While drafted by the Angels, Glaus moved to the Diamondbacks as a free agent in 2004, but was traded one year later to the Blue Jays.

The Prospects
No prospects were dealt in this trade.
Quick Take
Glaus and Rolen both bear similar injury risk. The key difference between them is remaining financial commitment. Rolen signed an eight-year, $90 million extension with St. Louis in 2003 and has three years and $36 million left on the deal. Glaus, on the other hand, is still in the midst of the four-year, $45 million pact he inked with Arizona in 2005, even though this will be his third team in that span. He’s owed $12.75 million next season and holds an $11.25 million player option for 2009, which he’ll certainly exercise if he struggles.

Though his injury history is more extensive (and he’s more expensive), Rolen offers two advantages to Glaus . . . if healthy. First, he’s still a fine defensive player at the hot corner, and second, he’s historically been a much better hitter versus righthanded pitching, which has been a weakness of Toronto’s because of all their righty bats. Rolen has hit .284/.361/.504 against righties for his career, compared with Glaus’ .244/.341/.475.

Incidentally, both Glaus (’02 Angels) and Rolen (’06 Cardinals) played to the left of shortstop David Eckstein on World Series winners . . . and now Eckstein will play for the Blue Jays in 2008.

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