Scott Rolen might be the perfect final touch to the Dodgers’ roster
Two years ago, Reds GM Walt Jocketty asked Scott Rolen to travel with the club even when he was on the disabled list. That’s how much Jocketty thought Rolen brought to the table in terms of leadership and presence. So even though Rolen is 37 years old and has played just 157 games the last two seasons, it’s understandable why the Los Angeles Dodgers are interested in him. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly faces the challenge of making the various parts of his roster—Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Andrew Ethier—form a cohesive team. Rolen could be a stabilizing influence, and also—and it’s a bottom-line business—he was once one of the best third basemen of his generation.
If Hanley Ramirez plays shortstop, the Dodgers will use Luis Cruz at third. In a star-studded lineup, third is about the only position where there are some questions about both experience and production. The Reds have said that if Rolen wants to come back, he’s welcome to become back with them. Jocketty still believes he’d be a positive on the roster. But with Todd Frazier ready to play and with Joey Votto at first, it’s anyone’s guess how many at-bats Dusty Baker would be able to get for Rolen.
Rolen played 92 games for the Reds last season—he had 80 starts at third—and batted .249 against right-handed pitching and .234 against lefties. His overall .716 OPS was off significantly from his .855 career number. But the Dodgers may feel that if they give him regular season and count on him to be honest with how he’s feeling, they could still get a productive season out of him. Regardless, he’s a good man and a really good teammate, and with Mattingly’s challenge being making it all fit, Rolen still brings plenty to the table. He’s one of those players who can have a career in baseball if he chooses to stay in the game.