2013 Reds

So long, Scott Rolen

Catching up on Reds news, it’s official that Scott Rolen won’t be joining the Reds at spring training:

While not definitively announcing his retirement, third baseman Scott Rolen and the Reds revealed Tuesday that he would not return to the club for Spring Training.

“Right now I’m simply not ready to make a commitment,” Rolen said in a statement released via the club. “I would like to leave my options open, without closing any doors. I am looking forward to all of the challenges, both personally and professionally, I will face in the future.”

We certainly wish Rolen the best, whether he plays again or not. He’s had a brilliant career, and I’ve gone on the record as saying that I believe he’s a Hall of Famer. Yes, the time had come for him to part ways with the Reds, but I’ll remember his time in Cincinnati fondly.

38 thoughts on “So long, Scott Rolen

  1. Thankful for his time here, great clubhouse presence. Hope he enjoys post-baseball life in the great city of Bloomington, IN.

  2. He’s a good man and I hope he comes back to the Reds as a special fielding instructor.

    Regarding his Hall worthiness, I’m not sure I agree. But he has been an excellent player during his career.

  3. I hope the younger players took adavantage of his presence – there’s a lot worse examples ballplayer could follow. Good luck, Mr. Rolen, and I hope everything turns out the way you want it to.

  4. Is this going to be one of those Clemens/Oswalt/Favre deals, where he strings people along all summer?

    • Is this going to be one of those Clemens/Oswalt/Favre deals, where he strings people along all summer?

      He sure strung the Reds along all winter, though they seemed to make alternative plans, they also seemed to leave the door open.

    • Is this going to be one of those Clemens/Oswalt/Favre deals, where he strings people along all summer?

      If the Reds ran into trouble and needed him, I bet he comes back…
      But then, I’m no Pete Rose…

      • If the Reds ran into trouble and needed him, I bet he comes back…
        But then, I’m no Pete Rose…

        I agree, if there’s a major injury to Todd Frazier or Jack Hannahan during the season I think Scott Rolen will immediately offer to report to extended spring training, if the Reds want him. In the meantime I think he’ll work hard to keep in shape. I wouldn’t bet on Scott Rolen returning but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see him make a comeback if the opportunity arises.

        As long as he doesn’t have a job he’ll stay retired, but he sure didn’t imply the same certainty as Chipper Jones, who was determined to retire no matter what.

  5. I wouldn’t count out Rolen coming back too soon. Just because he’s not coming to Spring Training doesn’t mean he won’t be a Red this season. It may be easier for him to train and rehabilitate at home, rather than in AZ. Good news is, the Reds already have a starting third baseman and viable backups in case he doesn’t come back.
    Until he officially signs with another team or declares his retirement, he could still strap on the spikes in Cincinnati.

    Go Reds!!

  6. Thank you Scott Rolen, for your time in Cincinnati.
    Scott Rolen, this Bud is for you.

    I hope he makes the HOF, I think he is deserving of it. Plus, I got a baseball signed by him at last year’s Redsfest. I hear he does not sign many baseballs at all.

  7. Last year Jack Hannahan hit .167 in 72 ABs vs LHPs compared to .270 in 215 ABs against RHPs. If Frazier gets hurt they might need a rigthanded hitting thirdbaseman to play part time and fill out a platoon… like Scott Rolen! Hopefully it won’t happen, but it could. Same story if Frazier has to move to 1b again. Whether Henry Rodriguez is an improvement over semi-retired Rolen could be an interesting debate.

    I’m glad the Reds treated Rolen with respect, and handled it without saying they flat out didn’t want him back. They did seems to leave the door open under the right circumstances.

  8. Rolen played an important role in the Reds’ NL Central championship in 2010, ending a long post-season drought. Many of the key players on that team – Votto, Bruce, Phillips – all credit Rolen’s leadership and winning attitude. I remember the first time, in 2009, when he did the first-to-third thing. That was a real “whoa” moment. The trade to bring him to Cincinnati turned out to be an important tipping point for the organization.

    • Rolen played an important role in the Reds’ NL Central championship in 2010, ending a long post-season drought. Many of the key players on that team – Votto, Bruce, Phillips – all credit Rolen’s leadership and winning attitude. I remember the first time, in 2009, when he did the first-to-third thing. That was a real “whoa” moment. The trade to bring him to Cincinnati turned out to be an important tipping point for the organization.

      Frankly—and this has nothing to with Rolen, who I think should go into the Hall of Fame—I think it’s an incredible stretch to say that Rolen was the tipping point for anything. The Reds were a very good team in 2012 not at all because of anything Scott Rolen did in 2009. I fail to believe that the Reds wouldn’t have made the same player personnel decisions that led to the good team last year had Rolen not been a Red.

      In 2010, he was a real asset to the team because he played well. In the two following years, he didn’t play well. I think it’s limited to that.

      Otherwise, I’d love to hear how many games Scott Rolen’s 2009-10 leadership won in 2012. I just don’t see the relationship between the Rolen acquisition in 2009 and the current excellent position the organization is in today.

  9. “remember the first time, in 2009, when he did the first-to-third thing”

    @Steve – Sorry for my ignorance — what is “first to third thing” ?

  10. I am reading that Topps baseball cards has now banned Pete Rose. Topps removed Pete as the all-time hits leader. First he got his TV show axed, and now this. Topps deserves a 15-yard penalty for piling on. There is a story today in USA Today Sports.

  11. @Steve Mancuso: Yep, it seemed like Rolen helped lead the Reds on the road to success, at least relative success, but he usually seemed get treated badly by fans during much of his time in Cincinnati, which was unfortunate.

    • @Steve Mancuso: Yep, it seemed like Rolen helped lead the Reds on the road to success, at least relative success, but he usually seemed get treated badly by fans during much of his time in Cincinnati, which was unfortunate.

      I don’t remember him getting treated badly here at all. Might be making something up there.

      • I don’t remember him getting treated badly here at all.Might be making something up there.

        I guess it depends where “here” is. I think the Cincinnati Reds treated Scott Rolen well and respectively. People on RedlegNation were relatively respectful. When you read other message boards, listen to 700WLW radio shows (both the broadcasters and the callers), responses to credible writers’ articles (like John Fay and Mark Sheldon) all I ever seemed to hear was complaining about how much people hated Scott Rolen, particularly after he was seen as blocking fan favorite Todd Frazier. Some people try to hold Scott Rolen responsible for the team’s failure in the NLDS. Any time Scott Rolen turned on a TV or radio or read something written by somebody other than John Fay or Mark Sheldon it seemed to be about how terrible he was. Dusty Baker has long faced the same thing. So did Drew Stubbs and Francisco Cordero, and for years so did Homer Bailey. It must be tough. I think Scott Rolen was treated nicely by the Reds, but not by the fans overall.

  12. @TC: That was novel in general? or novel for him?

    (Sorry if this is something really obvious and everyone is rolling their eyes at me).

  13. @Love4Reds: Rolen went from first to third on a routine single, hustling and diving into third base. The Reds were well out of contention in late 2009. Rolen demonstrated a “playing hard to win” lesson to the Reds. If a veteran player, who had won the World Series, could bust his butt in a relatively meaningless game, it showed the team – especially the stars – that they had to play as hard as possible to win. Apparently, a running team-wide joke began after Rolen told Jay Bruce “Need ya on third, Brucie.” Here’s a column by Paul Daugherty about it.

    http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20110309/COL03/303090130/-Need-ya-third-Brucie-has-become-Reds-mantra

    • @Steve Mancuso:

      @Love4Reds: Rolen went from first to third on a routine single, hustling and diving into third base. The Reds were well out of contention in late 2009. Rolen demonstrated a “playing hard to win” lesson to the Reds. If a veteran player, who had won the World Series, could bust his butt in a relatively meaningless game, it showed the team – especially the stars – that they had to play as hard as possible to win. Apparently, a running team-wide joke began after Rolen told Jay Bruce “Need ya on third, Brucie.” Here’s a column by Paul Daugherty about it.http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20110309/COL03/303090130/-Need-ya-third-Brucie-has-become-Reds-mantra

      Nicely done Steve. You are turning into a regular Vin Scully. Who doesn’t love a good story? Mr. Scully illuminated me on why Dusty started chewing on the ‘picks …

  14. Thank you for explanation and your patience! :)

    My brother calls me the “Most improved Reds fan” and I owe that a lot to everyone here at Redleg Nation.

  15. @WVRedlegs:
    How long before the city of Cincinnati does away with Pete Rose Way?
    They may even ban him from having his name on his mail box at his private estates!
    Too much is too much!

  16. @Seat101 – Yes, he does. Really its anything to patronize his “little sister”, just because.
    I’m not sure if I should be concerned that those initials have resemblance to MILF.. but I’m really too young for that denotation.

    But I will say that reading this blog and all the comments has really made me a better informed Reds fan and given me a much stronger understanding of Baseball. I always loved the Reds – now I understand WHY I love the Reds. :)

  17. @redsfanman: You simply seem to have an incredible desire to insult Reds fans. Reds fans are stupid because…(fill in the blank).

    Every player on every team gets criticized by fans to some degree. It’s a professional sport.

    • @redsfanman: You simply seem to have an incredible desire to insult Reds fans.Reds fans are stupid because…(fill in the blank).

      Every player on every team gets criticized by fans to some degree.It’s a professional sport.

      Personally I think most of the outspoken Reds fans are extremely negative. Not all, but many. Broadcasters who are positive, like George Grande, get criticized for it. I never said all Reds fans are stupid, I frequently say that most are way too negative even about a first place team, and many seem happier with failure than they are with success. It’s one thing to complain about a team when it’s losing, another to complain even more when it’s in first place. 700WLW, in particular, thrives on problems and criticism.

      @Brian Van Hook: Whether the concerns about Scott Rolen being too terrible to be in the lineup were attacks on Rolen or on Dusty Baker’s use of Rolen, either way it’s very rude to Rolen. Stuff about how he needed to retire was pretty much all he probably heard from fans during much of his time in Cincinnati.

      @YorktownRed: The oddest thing about Dusty’s use of players is that fans can rarely seem to suggest better options. Somebody has to play at each position, hit somewhere in the lineup, and whoever gets asked to fill a role gets bashed by Reds fans and/or the local media. Everyone knows the Reds need to put a good player in the lineup, just like how everyone knows the nation needs to decrease the budget deficit, there’s just rarely any good option that most people agree upon. It’s not Dusty Baker’s fault that Wilson Valdez and Miguel Cairo were on the roster, he’s not responsible for acquiring players.

      Dusty’s job is to make immediate decisions on the use of players he has been provided, without the benefit of hindsight. I don’t think there’s a manager in the world who Reds fans would agree with on every decision. Next up he faces the controversial no-win situation of Aroldis Chapman with no ‘correct’ answer. All we know is that any negative to come out of his decision (an injury [Mark Prior and Kerry Wood all over again!], weakened bullpen [relying on washed up veteran closer Broxton, Dusty sure loves his veterans!], Chapman struggling in the rotation [everyone KNEW it was a bad idea], holding Chapman back by returning him to the closer role [any smart manager would convert him!]) will be Dusty’s mistake. There’s no 100% right answer, but just wait, we’ll hear for months that whatever decision Dusty made was the wrong one.

      • Personally I think most of the outspoken Reds fans are extremely negative.Not all, but many.Broadcasters who are positive, like George Grande, get criticized for it.I never said all Reds fans are stupid, I frequently say that most are way too negative even about a first place team, and many seem happier with failure than they are with success.It’s one thing to complain about a team when it’s losing, another to complain even more when it’s in first place.700WLW, in particular, thrives on problems and criticism.

        @Brian Van Hook: Whether the concerns about Scott Rolen being too terrible to be in the lineup were attacks on Rolen or on Dusty Baker’s use of Rolen, either way it’s very rude to Rolen.Stuff about how he needed to retire was pretty much all he probably heard from fans during much of his time in Cincinnati.

        @YorktownRed: The oddest thing about Dusty’s use of players is that fans can rarely seem to suggest better options.Somebody has to play at each position, hit somewhere in the lineup, and whoever gets asked to fill a role gets bashed by Reds fans and/or the local media.Everyone knows the Reds need to put a good player in the lineup, just like how everyone knows the nation needs to decrease the budget deficit, there’s just rarely any good option that most people agree upon.It’s not Dusty Baker’s fault that Wilson Valdez and Miguel Cairo were on the roster, he’s not responsible for acquiring players.

        Dusty’s job is to make immediate decisions on the use of players he has been provided, without the benefit of hindsight.I don’t think there’s a manager in the world who Reds fans would agree with on every decision.Next up he faces the controversial no-win situation of Aroldis Chapman with no ‘correct’ answer.All we know is that any negative to come out of his decision (an injury [Mark Prior and Kerry Wood all over again!], weakened bullpen [relying on washed up veteran closer Broxton, Dusty sure loves his veterans!], Chapman struggling in the rotation [everyone KNEW it was a bad idea], holding Chapman back by returning him to the closer role [any smart manager would convert him!]) will be Dusty’s mistake.There’s no 100% right answer, but just wait, we’ll hear for months that whatever decision Dusty made was the wrong one.

        I fully agree that it was not Dusty Baker’s fault that Valdez and Cairo were on the roster. He had to play the “hand dealt.” But my main concern would be the insane batting orders. Thank God WJ has done a great job of tweaking and “Dusty-proofing” the team this off-season. I’m sure there will be second guessing, but not as much as 2012 (I hope).

        As for George Grande, I’m there with you, Brian.

  18. Baseball fans in general, Reds fans in particular and the Nation most specifically are predisposed to hyperbole. Scott Rolen did not ‘make’ the Reds into the exciting, compelling team preparing for the 2013 season, but this team developed over the past several years from a minor league system devoid of prospects and a perennial major league 2nd division team into one of the strongest organizations, top to bottom, in MLB & MiBL. Scott Rolen was not the savior for this team and he was not the be all end all aquisition. No one player filled such a role (appologies to Votto and BP and Cueto), but Scott Rolen was an important cog on the team and within the organization at a very critical time in this team’s development. Quantifying leadership is an excercise in futility, but denying the impact of positive leadership is simply burying a head in the sand.

  19. @Shchi Cossack: Well said.

    Regarding Scott Rolen’s treatment, he was beaten up pretty badly on WLW. I can vouch for that. But so has everyone except Votto. Bruce is beaten up worse I think though. I often think to myself, “Why don’t you people read Redleg Nation!?”

    But I’m not a fan of fans in Cincinnati in general.

  20. I think any “abuse” that might have been directed toward Rolen was more because he struggled so badly at times, yet he wouldn’t come out of the lineup. And it always seemed to have to be Rolen’s own decision about playing or not playing because he had a veteran-loving manager who didn’t want to pull him out of the lineup no matter how poorly he fared. At least, that’s how it always seemed to me. … Not that Cairo and Valdez were much of an offensive option late in the season, either, when Frazier was at first base for Votto, but still, Rolen was brutal, especially in the first half of the season.

    • I think any “abuse” that might have been directed toward Rolen was more because he struggled so badly at times, yet he wouldn’t come out of the lineup. And it always seemed to have to be Rolen’s own decision about playing or not playing because he had a veteran-loving manager who didn’t want to pull him out of the lineup no matter how poorly he fared. At least, that’s how it always seemed to me. … Not that Cairo and Valdez were much of an offensive option late in the season, either, when Frazier was at first base for Votto, but still, Rolen was brutal, especially in the first half of the season.

      Brian, I think most of the RLN “abuse” was directed not at Rolen himself (he couldn’t help it that he sucked), but at the apparently blind manager running the team and running him out there (and batting him cleanup most of the time) as long as he was not on the DL. Baker’s decisions are constant “head-scratchers” whether it be Stubbs at lead-off (or batting second), Valdez batting second, Hanigan batting 8th (no matter what). Fortunately, most of Dusty’s “weapons” are gone (Stubbs, Rolen, Valdez, Cairo). Having said that, the head-scratching will probably continue. I just have not figured out where the problem areas will be.

  21. Veteran infielder Miguel Cairo has joined the Reds front office in a role that apparently ends his playing career. The Reds announced that Cairo has become a special assistant to general manager Walt Jocketty (Twitter link).

    The Reds do like to take care of their own and Cairo played like and carried himself like a real professional. Congrats Miguel and take notice Scotty.

  22. @redsfanman: I think George Grande gets criticized because he never, ever, ever talks about anything the least bit negative. (And that’s saying something, because he always is talking about something or other. No lack of verbiage there. If you think people are too negative, that is your opinion, but let’s not praise people who are just as bad in the opposite direction.

    And people ARE allowed to have the opinion that Rolen should have retired. Or should retire now. (I didn’t say that above, for the record.) My memory is that only a few people on RLN, Seat maybe?, expressed much faith in his ability to revive things. And Rolen did, after the break, for a while at least, thanks to a different workout routine. But if that’s all Rolen heard, retire, he can either prove people wrong, or he can go elsewhere. But I can’t feel too sorry for a guy who was hitting .180 or whatever before the break — and looked just God-awful with his swings a lot of the time — if he was criticized for it. (And frankly, I doubt if he cared one bit what you, I or anybody thought.

    And I mentioned earlier that I realize at times that Dusty didn’t have the best options for some of the lineups he put out there. But c’mon. Regarding what Yorktown was saying, if Dusty was gonna keep putting Stubbs or even Valdez first or second in the order, while Hanigan was forever stuck in the 8-hole, it comes across as This square peg is gonna fit into this round hole, even if I spend all season trying to make it fit.

  23. @Brian Van Hook: I never said people couldn’t have the opinion that Rolen should retire, I did imply that he’s faced nearly constant criticism throughout his time with the Cincinnati Reds, which must be tough. He might try to ignore it but how cut off from the world can a guy actually be?

    Personally I always thought the idea of asking Hanigan to lead off 3 out of every 5 games was a bad option, which Dusty addressed in interviews to my satisfaction. I was probably more opposed to Phillips leading off than anybody. Stubbs, Cozart, not good options either. Using your analogy Dusty had a bunch of odd shaped pegs, none of which adequately fit into the first hole. The only consensus was that whichever peg Dusty picked wouldn’t fit either. Walt Jocketty improved the team by this winter by, for the first time since Dusty came to the Reds, adding a round peg for the round hole – that’s “Dusty-proofing” – providing players capable of filling a role so Dusty’s options aren’t all bad.

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