Reds - General

Scott Rolen to DL; Reds may be in trouble

Scott Rolen

The Enquirer/Joseph Fuqua II

Uh oh.

This is what we’ve been afraid would happen. Scott Rolen has been placed on the disabled list; the Reds have recalled Chris Valaika from AAA to take Rolen’s place on the 25-man roster.

First things first: I really wish Cincinnati had called up Todd Frazier. Frazier is simply a better player than Valaika, and Frazier can play 3B and outfield, which would give the Reds more flexibility.

Hopefully, this is just a short-term thing, and Rolen will be back soon. There is reason to be concerned, since the problem is with his left shoulder, and that’s the same injury that caused Rolen to miss most of a season a couple of years ago.

Even worse, if Rolen misses a substantial amount of time, the Reds are completely unprepared. Miguel Cairo is not a reasonable long-term solution at 3B, either offensively or defensively. Edgar Renteria refuses to play third base. Juan Francisco is hurt now, but he isn’t a major leaguer, as far as I’m concerned. Todd Frazier is probably the best option, but the Reds are clearly unwilling to give him a chance yet.

Again, hopefully Rolen heals up soon and is back out on the field after this DL stint. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried, though.

49 thoughts on “Scott Rolen to DL; Reds may be in trouble

  1. I seem to remember Valaika struggling to play 3B in spring training. I like the kid and can see him as the starting 2B next year, but its just another worry. It’s difficult to imagine he’d be worse defensively than Francisco though so we were spared that, at least.

    I would like to see Frazier up as well. Perhaps if Valaika struggles and he starts turning it on at AAA he’ll be brought up. Last night’s game was a nice first step.

  2. I don’t think the Reds are in trouble. Now is the time for other younger players to step it up. Once Francisco is back from his hurt calf he will get the majority of playing time. He’s better defensively than I thought. I don’t mind the fact he doesn’t walk but he needs to swing at strikes.

    Renteria is on the roster in case Janish fails. That thinking has to change. Either he plays all infield spots or release him and bring up someone else. Frazier makes sense to me. He can play infield and outfield. I liked the defensive play he made in ST where he gunned a guy out at second. He looked like Bruce on that play.

  3. Frazier’s hitting .228 at Louisville, but yeah, he’s definitely the answer right now…🙄

  4. No surprise with Rolen, but I REALLY thought Frazier would get the call up. My only thought is that Dusty is so big on experience and guys earning their time that he wasnt going to pass over Valaika for a kid who has never played a major league game. At least Valaika has some starts under his belt. I would hope that Dusty would get sick of watching Jeremy Hermida strike out soon and send him down, hopefully opening a spot for either Frazier or Sappelt. As for Renteria, as long as Janish keeps playing like he is, His playing time at SS is going to plummet. Once he sees a minor league 2nd baseman getting more playing time at 3B than him, his attitude might change. If it doesn’t, I’m with musicjoker. Who needs him. We’d be perfectly fine with a SS lineup of Janish backed up by Frazier. I wish they’d start grooming Frazier to play 3B since Janish should be our starting SS for quite a while. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Frazier become the everyday 3B for Louisville right away now, just in case.

    As for Rolen, I don’t want to overreact or push the panic button, but I have a bad feeling about this. He sound like he was REALLY hurting, and nothing happened to him. That sounds to me like it is the same surgically repaired issue flaring up again. And at 37 if he needs to go under the knife again, I don’t think he’s coming back. It would be a shame because the guy is still one of the best defensive infielders in the game even at his age and can still hit the ball out of the park. I hope he’s OK but I’m preparing for the worst.

    • I would hope that Dusty would get sick of watching Jeremy Hermida strike out soon and send him down, hopefully opening a spot for either Frazier or Sappelt.

      What’s with all the Hermida hate? He raked all spring and in Louisville and everyone wants to bury him after 8 AB.

      • What’s with all the Hermida hate?He raked all spring and in Louisville and everyone wants to bury him after 8 AB.

        Tom, I’m not one of the Hermida haters, I have felt he might be able to contribute as a LHed bat off the bench and kept saying so. But the fact is it’s between him and Lewis for that 5th OF spot, they can’t both get it. He and Lewis bring different things to the table. I don’t think Lewis’ promotion to AAA necessarily means Hermida is off the club very soon. (Does anyone know how close Lewis is to the limit for DL rehab days ?)

        Hermida has a window of opportunity here, and so far (right only 8 ABS) he hasn’t contributed. But the clock is ticking, he’s got to show his value now if he wants to stay. He arguably deserves more of a chance, but as Clint Eastwood said: “Deserves got nothing to do with it.”

        • I’m not one of the Hermida haters, I have felt he might be able to contribute as a LHed bat off the bench and kept saying so. But the fact is it’s between him and Lewis for that 5th OF spot, they can’t both get it. He and Lewis bring different things to the table. I don’t think Lewis’ promotion to AAA necessarily means Hermida is off the club very soon.

          I’m Ok if Lewis ends up with the spot over Hermida at the end of the day. You’re right, they are different players and it comes down to what you want from the LH off the bench. I was just surprised that so many were so down on Hermida after so few AB and were blinded by his terrible 2010. I just wanted to point out he had potential value and don’t be so quick to write him off.

    • I wouldn’t be surprised to see Frazier become the everyday 3B for Louisville right away now, just in case.

      Frazier has been the regular 3B at Louisville all season and he’s outhitting Valaika.

      Frazier .228/.323/.456/.779
      Valaika .306/.352/.388/.740

  5. I’m afraid I agree with Chad. The Reds are ill-equipped to cope with any prolonged absence by Rolen. Valaika was not brought up to play 3B. Cairo is going to play 3B every day for the foreseeable future. Valaika is another backup middle IF. Not sure who plays 3B if the ancient Cairo gets hurt.

    The off-season failure is now coming home to roost. Renteria’s limited role on the team is turning out to be devastating to the bench. It’s still not clear to me if Renteria refused to play 3B as much as Baker refused to play him there. Either way, it’s a disaster that Jocketty apparently didn’t imagine when Renteria was signed. I was at the spring event when Jocketty clearly said Renteria was going to take some balls at 3B and 1B. How could the GM who was negotiating that multi-million dollar contract not know that 3B wasn’t even going to be attempted.

    In a tangentially related note, I think the Reds have been giving Hermida his chance to prove himself. And having failed pretty completely, I think he’s history when Fred Lewis is ready to go, which will be soon.

    I still have trouble seeing Francisco as the solution at 3B – both in the field and at the plate.

  6. And I’m long past the point of being ready to dump Renteria. If the Reds had been my team, I’d have found a way to get Brandon Wood from the Angels and sent Renteria on his way.

    • And I’m long past the point of being ready to dump Renteria. If the Reds had been my team, I’d have found a way to get Brandon Wood from the Angels and sent Renteria on his way.

      Not sure but Wood hasn’t been that great, I would rather see the Reds put Frazier at 3rd and see what he can do. You could hit him like 7th and let him show his stuff.

  7. BTW, Homer is having another great start for the Bats today. 4 IP so far, 52 pitches, 35 strikes, 4 K, 0 runs, 2 hits, 1 BB. As long as his shoulder feels OK in the next couple of days, I think he’s ready to pitch for the Reds again.

  8. @Steve: That is good news. Hopefully they can get his pitch count at least up into the 80s or 90s and my guess is he’ll meet the team back home after this road trip.

  9. @Tom Diesman: I wasn’t paying too much attention to him in spring, but how good could he have been if they had to ask him to sign a minor league contract and no other big league team was interested in him?

    If he didn’t bat left handed there’s no way he’d be getting time over Heisey and I’d rather see Sappelt get a shot sooner than later. Those are possible long term solutions. Hermida is not.

    • Who’s been playing SS for Louisville?

      Zach Cozart has been playing SS there every day, and not hitting. He wouldn’t have been brought up at this point anyway.

  10. And what is this obsession with Brandon Wood on this board? His career numbers in the majors are .168/.197./.259/.456. Why would anyone want this bum on our ballclub? It’s baffling to me.

  11. I don’t think the Reds view the call up of Valaika as replacing Rolen. They see Cairo as replacing Rolen. Valaika is replacing Cairo’s utility role.

    Hermida’s spring is a really small sample size compared to his entire career. No other major league team was interested in him even after spring training for that reason. So one could be pessimistic about him based, not on his 8 AB this year, but on his last 400+ major league AB when he has been a worse hitter than Willy Taveras. Hermida’s OBP the past three years hasn’t even sniffed .300 for example. The ’11 spring numbers are the misleading ones.

    I’m probably responsible for the entire “obsession” about Brandon Wood. My love for him was in the context of signing him as a utility player instead of Renteria. He’s cheaper, better defensively, and can play both 3B and SS. I agree that he isn’t anything approaching a long-term solution for losing Rolen. (although he at one point was seen as a future elite hitter, and is only 26 years old.

    • Hermida’s spring is a really small sample size compared to his entire career. No other major league team was interested in him even after spring training for that reason. So one could be pessimistic about him based, not on his 8 AB this year, but on his last 400+ major league AB when he has been a worse hitter than Willy Taveras. Hermida’s OBP the past three years hasn’t even sniffed .300 for example. The ’11 spring numbers are the misleading ones.

      I’m probably responsible for the entire “obsession” about Brandon Wood. My love for him was in the context of signing him as a utility player instead of Renteria. He’s cheaper, better defensively, and can play both 3B and SS. I agree that he isn’t anything approaching a long-term solution for losing Rolen. (although he at one point was seen as a future elite hitter, and is only 26 years old.

      I think you may need to recheck Hermida’s numbers. He was miserable last season. But he has a minor league OBP of .395, and major league OBP of .332-.369-.323-.348 from 2006-2009. So his spring and AAA numbers could very well be a rebound to form. At 27 years old, being normal peak, he’s a good bet for a rebound, and not much risk as being the LH hitter off the bench.

      I’ve been beating the Brandon Wood drum too every chance I get. Awesome minor league numbers, plays solid SS or 3B. Would have been a perfect fit as a high potential offensive player to caddy for Rolen and Janish. He may have blossomed in that role with lesser expectations.

      • I think you may need to recheck Hermida’s numbers.He was miserable last season.But he has a minor league OBP of .395, and major league OBP of .332-.369-.323-.348 from 2006-2009.So his spring and AAA numbers could very well be a rebound to form.At 27 years old, being normal peak, he’s a good bet for a rebound, and not much risk as being the LH hitter off the bench.

        I’ve been beating the Brandon Wood drum too every chance I get.Awesome minor league numbers, plays solid SS or 3B.Would have been a perfect fit as a high potential offensive player to caddy for Rolen and Janish.He may have blossomed in that role with lesser expectations.

        You’re right. I misread his career stats. He was once considered a can’t-miss prospect, but he’s just dropped off the map. Last year in 222 AB his OBP was only .268. He was decent, but nothing special in 2008 and 2009. His last flash of being great was back in 2007. I realize we don’t need him to be great. But major league talent evaluators, the ones who apparently recommended not signing Hermida this year, seem to be lined up on one side.

        I’d love it for him to return to form. And 8 AB isn’t enough to judge. But Lewis deserves at least the same consideration as well.

    • I’m probably responsible for the entire “obsession” about Brandon Wood. My love for him was in the context of signing him as a utility player instead of Renteria. He’s cheaper, better defensively, and can play both 3B and SS.

      Steve, you’re right, you did. And although I agree with you about 99% of the time, I disagreed with you right away about the idea of Brandon Wood on the Reds 25 man roster. In terms of hitting, there are those who cannot make the jump from AAA to the the major leagues, such as Brandon Larson. And Larson’s numbers were much better than Wood’s.

      You did bring up Wood in the context of Renteria, but the point is, what makes Wood a better prospect than say Frazier ? Defense alone does not a player make. I don’t remember Juan Castro being so popular on this blog, and I have no confidence that Wood would hit as well as Castro did.

      A question (not sarcastic but factual): has any ML team picked up on Brandon Wood yet ? I would certainly not be opposed to a minor league deal for him, give him a chance to pick up the pieces offensively.

      • I don’t remember Juan Castro being so popular on this blog, and I have no confidence that Wood would hit as well as Castro did.

        But Wood’s minor league history says he’s at least got a chance to figure it out with the bat, whereas Juan Castro had no chance. Why not choose the replacement player with the greater upside?

    • It’s too bad Chris Heisey doesn’t have any experence at third.

      I bet he’d be willing to give it a shot.

  12. If Rolen is only out short-term, then this won’t hurt the Reds much. He was hurting the team on offense, he needs to get healthy (healthier, anyway).
    The Reds are thinking short-term for now. Cairo is the replacement and Valaika becomes a backup at 2nd base (mostly) and 3rd base. This is OK with me (SHORT TERM).

    I think the Reds do regard Frazier as a better player than Valaika, they’re giving him the “top prospect” treatment. Become consistent at AAA, come up to the Reds for good when ready to stay with the Reds.

  13. If Rolen is out long-term, this obviously presents a big problem. I think that’s when Frazier would enter the picture. I hope so, at least.

  14. Let’s face the facts. Rolen has been a terrible baseball player since the All Star Break last year. He is not healthy. Most likely, if he does anything at all for the Reds, it won’t be at a good level.

    He’s old, folks.

    • Let’s face the facts. Rolen has been a terrible baseball player since the All Star Break last year.

      I would disagree he was “terrible”. He still hit for a decent average and still played very good defense — better than any other option the Reds had. What he lost was his power which was exaggerated by the fact he was hitting cleanup.

  15. Valaika is a good hitter and he has been able to make adjustments with few problems. But Frasier should have gotten the call at some point. Janish can play third, as he showed several times before. And why should Hermida be given more chances to fail than any of the variety of one-hit wonders we’ve seen before? I don’t even see why he deserves more playing time than Heisey is getting

  16. @Steve: Thanks. Interesting, I should have checked out mlbtraderumors. Toronto discussed making a deal for him in the offseason, and the Brewers discussed a possible claim but couldn’t make a spot.
    A relevant statement there: “He’d be a fit for many clubs at shortstop or third base, as I outlined here, but he’s more likely to land with a club that can give him some leeway to struggle in the Majors.”

  17. im torn on heisey. i love the dude as a ballplayer and hes probably third on my list of reds i would want to take into a fight, after gomes and phillips(based on the having your back/attitude/team player factor) and i have no doubt he would be willing to try third base and he would be a better all around player than any of the other options on the roster, besides probably frasier. that being said, he just isnt that GREAT a ballplayer. hes probably one of the best fourth outfielders in the game, along with seth smith and david murphy. that being said, there is a reason they are fourth outfielders. murphy is a special case because hes good enough to start on about 25 other teams. but smith and heisey fall in the category of “can succeed under the right circumstances” which isnt something you really like out of every day corner outfielders. and at his age he isnt getting any better. tell me sappelt might be the longterm solution and i’ll bite. but heisey, i’ll lay off. i think he could play a super utility role.

    the perfect comparison for what i think he could be is ryan raburn of the tigers. dont know him? look him up. plays six defensive positions at an above average level, hits just above average, good speed and arm. exactly the kind of guy i want… sitting on my bench until the seventh inning while getting sixty or seventy starts a year.

    i hope he blows me out of the water and becomes a murphy or corey hart type. its just not likely.

  18. and just for the record. id trade three of these: billy hamilton, dave sappelt, yonder alonso and yasmani grandal for jed lowrie. ultimate utility man, and he can flat rake. didnt even start opening day for the red sox and now hes been their most consistent player on both sides of the ball.

    related side note: has their been any thought of moving alonso to third?

    • and just for the record. id trade three of these: billy hamilton, dave sappelt, yonder alonso and yasmani grandal for jed lowrie. ultimate utility man, and he can flat rake. didnt even start opening day for the red sox and now hes been their most consistent player on both sides of the ball.

      related side note: has their been any thought of moving alonso to third?

      Seriously? You’d trade three of our top ten prospects for Lowrie? 🙄

  19. @pinson343: Cozart had 2 hits in Sat & Sun games. It’s only April and he has always hit. Griffin was at 3rd today and Frazier in LF/1B today.

  20. @eastcoast redsfan: His defense degraded in August and September, and from August 1 to the end of the season he hit .251 with a .699 OPS. You are right that he had a pretty good July. I’m looking, though, at his vector, and the vector is pretty negative.

  21. I’d hold to see how bad Rolen is hurt and how long he will be out before hitting the big trade button.

    Scott Rolen might not have the range, but pretty much if he catches it, the throw is usually executed well. After a few years of Edwin, I really appreciated that part of the deal.

  22. All of those prospects are blocked. Alonso by votto, grandal by mesaraco/hanigan, sappelt by Bruce/Stubbs/probably heist( to my chagrin) and Hamilton by Phillips and lowrie if we had him.

  23. Forgive me for prefering an established player over a grab bag of could-miss prospects. Do the names Austin kearns, Brandon Larson ring a bell? I guess I just have a soft spot for switch hitting, slick-fielding shortstops with average and power who can play all 4 infield positions.

  24. I like all the guys i listed, but I’m really high on lowrie. He switch hits and over a full season is a .280/20HR/35double/30SB/ guy who can score 100 runs from tbe leadoff. With plus defense everywhere you play him.

  25. On what the Reds (at least Dusty) had planned at 3rd became clear this AM from the Enquirer.

    The long-term plan at third remains Juan Francisco.

    “He’s 23, lots of pop,” Baker said, “MVP in the Dominican the last two winters. He was the guy we had slated to pick up the 35, 40 games Scottie wasn’t going to play and phase him slowly like that.”

    But Francisco is on the DL with a strained calf until at least May 2.

  26. edit: i misread lowries speed numbers.but his projections this year are still .270/21/75 with 75 runs, 5SB, and a .840OPS as well as plus defense at four positions. its a personal preference i guess.

  27. @cliff: Where are you getting those projections from? Updated ZIPS has him at .296/.347/.488 with 11 HR, 52 RBI and 52 runs. Additionally, I’m not sure you can claim Lowrie gives you plus defense at SS. His UZR/150s for the last four years are 27.9, 21.2, -15.2, and -7.2. Giving up three of the four players you listed for Lowrie would rival what the Red Sox gave up for Adrian Gonzalez. You don’t give up that kind of package for a utility infielder…you give it up for a player like David Wright. Yes, Lowrie has been raking the ball, but his BABIP this season is .442. He’s also 27 years old and has accumulated only 184 games in the majors. This discussion shouldn’t even be happening.

  28. i used bill james’ preseason projections multiplied by 650 AB, which after further comparison with other reds players is about 50 too many. but his projections, based on about 480 AB, can be found here http://rotochamp.com/players/Player.aspx?MLBAMID=476704&PlayerType=Hitter

    or for quick reference: .269/17HR/75RBI/75R over 482 PA with a .823 OPS.

    i think he would get more than 482 AB playing every day, but 650 is a reach. that would involve getting about 4.5 PA per game. my mistake.

    what would you say is more reasonably?

    4PA per game? that would be about 560 AB, or a line of 20HR/87RBI/87R with the same rate stats. i still think thats a top tier offensive middle infielder, not just a utility infielder.

    the fact he has played so few games at 27 years of age is a result of playing positions in which he was blocked by dustin pedroia and the big contract of julio lugo. he had a .825 OPS on the minors, not far off from james’ projection for this year.

    he is also 9.7runs above replacement for his career, defensively.his career UZR/150 is +6.4 at 2B, +12.3 at SS, and 7.9 at 3B. his -60 at first base is a result of only 3 plays. he has at least 50 at each other position.

    i know we arent going to agree on this, mostly because i watch lowrie day in and day out(hes the only red sox i can tolerate) but also because i dont think any of our “top prospects” are the type of prospects we classically regard as “top.” four years ago none of those would be among top 5 at the level they are playing now, except hamilton. there is no bruce/votto/bailey/cueto type among them, in my opinion.

    i also dont think its fair compare this to the adrian gonzalez trade. the sox sent over:

    (this is all via scoutingbook.com)

    Casey Kelly (14th overall in baseball, 2nd among RHP now that drabek and hellickson are in the majors,)
    Anthony Rizzo(51 overall, 4th among 1B still in minors,) and
    Reymond Fuentes(81 and 11th among current minor leaguers)

    the players i offered up:

    Yonder Alonso(39 overall,3rd among current minor leaguers)
    Billy Hamilton (97 overall, 11th among SS in minors)
    Yasmani Grandal (114 overall, 11th among current minor league catchers, 2nd in our own system)
    i was unable to find sappelt.

    i think its becoming obvious we will never agree, though, because our values of both lowrie and our own prospects differ greatly, so i digress.

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