Okay, so imagine yourself as the general manager of a team that is currently seven games out of the division lead (behind four other teams) and eight-and-a-half games out of the wild card (behind eight other teams). Might be time to wise up and cut bait on expensive veterans, right? Not if you are Reds general manager Walt Jocketty. According to Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com, the Reds are discussing a trade for third baseman Scott Rolen:
The Reds, who have lost five straight games, are widely expected to sell at the deadline. But acquiring Rolen would give the team a head start on planning for 2010, since Rolen is already under contract for next year at $11 million.
The sides are still trying to determine which players would head to Toronto in the deal, but the source said that third baseman Edwin Encarnacion would be included.
I'm not going to sit here and tell you that the Reds would be better off with Edwin Encarnacion manning third base. They wouldn't. He's awful over there. One of the worst in the sport, even. And Rolen has been a great comeback story this season, putting together an awesome .316/.371/.467 line. But why take the $11 million risk for a player in his mid-30s, who isn't the Gold Glover he used to be, and with a well-documented injury history to boot? Well, Jocketty is a fan of Rolen from their days together in St. Louis; the veteran third baseman fits the bill as the righty bat the Reds have been seeking.
Wouldn't you know it, Encarnacion is also right-handed and under the organization's control through 2012. He will make just $4.7 million in 2010. If the Reds are truly that unhappy with Encarnacion's defense, they would be better served to move him to a corner outfield spot. They shouldn't give up on a relatively inexpensive 26-year-old with real 30-homer potential who is showing some tangible progress in his approach (15.7% walk rate this season) at the plate.