Blue Jays Acquire Scott Rolen For Troy Glaus
Blue Jays Acquire Scott Rolen For Troy Glaus
Enter Rolen . . . exit Glaus
Disgruntled Card dealt for third baseman with sore foot, steroid cloud
Pending physicals, the Toronto Blue Jays and St. Louis Cardinals have swapped injury-plagued third basemen Troy Glaus and Scott Rolen.
In that both players are coming off season-ending September surgeries, those physicals, probably conducted tomorrow, are of no small concern. But, if both clear, it's a done deal according to a trusted baseball source.
Both players waived their complete no-trade clauses for the exchange to happen and Rolen is no doubt the happier of the two.
A seven-time Gold Glove winner, Rolen, 33 on April 4, has barely been on speaking terms with manager Tony La Russa the past two years, a convoluted feud that seemed destined to continue once La Russa signed a two-year contract extension last month. With that, Rolen asked St. Louis GM John Mozeliak to begin exploring trade options.
With Toronto, he'll again line up on the left side of the infield with shortstop David Eckstein, the Cardinals free agent who represents the Jays' other major off-season acquisition.
Glaus, a shy and sensitive man, was not unhappy during his two-year stay with Toronto, but it's apparent he'll welcome a chance to get off the artificial turf that augments the nagging foot problems that limited him to 115 games and only 20 home runs in 2007.
Glaus, 31 last August, had nerve compression surgery, reportedly successful, on the bottom of his left foot, Sept.17.
A week earlier, Rolen, who got into 115 games and hit .265 with only eight homers, had his non-throwing left shoulder scoped for scar tissue.
Neither player, Mozeliak nor Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi could immediately be reached for comment yesterday on the negotiations.
The source, though, said talks had been ongoing for about a month – roughly since the winter meetings in Nashville, Tenn., when the Cardinals were actively searching for a fit for their disgruntled third baseman.
It's a straight-up deal with, apparently, no exchange of cash, although the Cardinals might be asked to ship a little north. Glaus, who made $10.75 million (all figures U.S.) was due to make $12.75 million in the 2008 season and had an option for another $11.25 million in 2009.
Rolen, who also had issues in Philadelphia where he won the rookie-of-the-year award in 1997, had called St. Louis "baseball heaven" when the Phillies dealt him there in July of '02. He has three years left on his contract for $12 million per.
That neither team – certainly not the Jays – was willing to officially confirm the trade until the medical reports were in, harkens back to January 2001, when the Jays asked the commissioner's office to help unravel a deal that was intended to send pitcher David Wells to the White Sox for, it turned out, sore-armed right-hander Mike Sirotka.
Never happened, by the way, and Sirotka never threw another pitch in the majors.
The fact Glaus has been dogged by reports he had received shipments of anabolic steroids during his time with the Anaheim Angels (the commissioner's office later dismissed its concerns for want of sufficient evidence) was, apparently, of no matter in these talks.
Still, another change of scenery – not to mention the change of playing surface – could help Glaus revitalize a career that includes five seasons of 30-plus homers, including an AL-leading 47 in 2000 and another 38 with the Jays in 2006.
He arrived in Toronto that winter in a trade that sent pitcher Miguel Batista and second baseman Orlando Hudson to the Arizona Diamondbacks, for whom Glaus hit 37 homers in his only other season in the National League.
Rolen's problems with La Russa and the Cardinals organization actually began after a pair of shoulder surgeries in 2005 when he had some issues with the medical procedure.
His frustrations peaked the following year when La Russa didn't start him for a game in the National League championship series.
Team sources have described the cold war between the two as one based on a growing mistrust. Two large egos didn't help the situation. Nor did La Russa, new contract in hand, sounding off last month in Nashville.
"He asked to be traded so, under normal circumstances, if a guy doesn't want to be part of your situation, then you consider that," said La Russa, initially miffed that Rolen apparently wasn't disclosing the severity of his shoulder problems.
"He's got a contract to play and we need him to play. And he's going to be treated very honestly. If he plays hard and plays as well as he can, he plays.
"If he doesn't, he'll sit. If he doesn't like it, he can quit."
Having earlier dealt outfielder Jim Edmonds to San Diego, the Cards were looking for a more dependable bat to hit behind marquee player Albert Pujols and are taking a shot they've found that in Glaus.
In Rolen, the Jays have landed a still-solid defensive whiz (six straight Gold Gloves, 2000-06) but are taking a shot on a .278 career hitter (Glaus is at .254) whose power numbers have taken a hit because of the shoulder ills that have slowed his bat-speed.
After hitting 31, 28 and 34 homers from 2002 to '04, for instance, Rolen has managed just 35 (five, 22 and eight) over the past three years.
So, now, the medicals.