I was one of the few people at this site who defended the Rolen trade from the start.

Photo: Gary Landers/Enquirer

Rolen’s presence turned the Reds from a pretender into a contender. The confidence, experience and model he provided for consistency, professionalism and running the bases seemed to convince the team they could win. Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto said so. Rolen wasn’t the Reds’ best player in 2010, but they wouldn’t have made the playoffs without him.

The organization began 2012 with the overly optimistic plan that Scott Rolen would be healthy enough to play 120 or more games and would return to a reasonably able version of his former self. Predictably, Dusty Baker installed him game-after-game-after-game as the club’s clean up hitter. Who amongst Reds’ observers thought that would work? Rolen’s production during those 29 games:

.174/.238/.304

Then Rolen took himself out of the lineup. His shoulder hurt, and he was hurting the team. Scott Rolen, to his credit, said both of those things. He spent the last month on the DL and was replaced by Todd Frazier, the Reds’ best hitter this spring, who produced this:

.274/.333/.600

The key number to note is the last one, the slugging percentage. Frazier has six home runs to Rolen’s two. But back to the dread.

It began after listening to a brief part of last night’s TV broadcast.

Announcers Jim Kelch and Jeff Brantley turned to the news that Scott Rolen had taken batting practice earlier in the day. We’re looking at days now, rather than weeks. Great! Right? I love watching Scott Rolen play baseball. Shouldn’t I be looking forward to his return?

After all, Rolen has done well in pinch hitting duties the past couple years. He’d be a great defensive substitute. Todd Frazier’s performance at third base has been so much better than the 2012 version of Scott Rolen that everyone sees it. Even Dusty Baker, even through the fog of Aqua Velva, has surely grasped that simple truth. Scott Rolen’s return as a pinch hitter and bench player will definitely improve the Reds.

But as Kelch and Brantley began to discuss Rolen’s return, a feeling of queasiness crept through me. They didn’t seem to consider, even for a second, that Frazier should continue to start at third base for the Reds. Instead, they talked about how he would be perfectly suited to replace Rolen on the veteran’s regular days off. Were they kidding?

It doesn’t matter what announcers (or bloggers) think. But, if Kelch and Brantley don’t see Frazier as having earned the 3B job then, to a moral certainty, neither does Dusty Baker. And unfortunately, it does matter what he thinks.

Of course, every one of us would love to see Scott Rolen return healthy and revitalized and play like he did in that glorious first half of 2010. We’ll be hoping that the injured shoulder, not Father Time, explains April. We’ll pull for him. But, looking at it realistically, we know that’s not happening.

More likely, we’ll suffer through day after anguishing day of Baker stubbornly putting the name Rolen, not Frazier, on the lineup card. Rolen will struggle at the plate. Todd Frazier, the organization’s third best hitter, will rot on the bench, seeing the same playing time as Wilson Valdez.

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 89 Comments

  1. here’s the thing that gets me, check out this article (or one of the many other articles) from spring training. this one is titled “healthy scott rolen looks to make a difference in ’12”:

    http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120327&content_id=27662142&vkey=news_cin&c_id=cin

    “The most important thing about Reds third baseman Scott Rolen’s Spring Training is that he feels as good as he’s looked at the plate.

    For a soon-to-be 37-year-old who missed half of last season with an injured left shoulder, that’s big because Rolen looms large in the equation for the Reds to contend.”

    So from everything we were told, by Rolen, the Reds, and the Media, Scott Rolen was healthy when we started the season.

    Then he was terrible. Then he said the shoulder was hurting again. Then no one seemed to ask him when it started to hurt.

    Wasn’t that weird? Everyone just went right back to talking about how the shoulder has been bothering him for years, and isn’t it a shame he can’t get healthy.

    But he was healthy! Something doesn’t add up.

    Either a) he never was healthy and just said he was, b) he was healthy and hurt himself early on and didn’t say anything, or c) he was healthy and is just too old to hit in the big leagues, and then said he wasn’t healthy to get some time off.

    None of those scenarios seems particularly uplifting.

  2. Todd Frazier should be the everyday third base for the Reds, Scott Rolen is a very good player, but has also shown that he can not play consistently.

  3. How sad is it that anyone with half a brain would keep Frazier as the regular, yet they all KNOW that Dusty will not? How can anyone defend Dusty Baker?

    • How sad is it that anyone with half a brain would keep Frazier as the regular, yet they all KNOW that Dusty will not? How can anyone defend Dusty Baker?

      It really is hard to fathom, isn’t it? This isn’t an intramural softball league with a six-pack at stake, it’s a business with tens of millions of dollars at stake, and we’re all convinced they’re about to make a very stupid decision for no reason other than one middle manager’s personal allegiance to one under-performing employee (who determines 13% of the company’s revenues), and apparently the organization is perfectly happy to accept the consequences. It makes absolutely no business sense, and yet we all expect it to happen.

  4. To the main point of the article, I really think that once Rolen comes back, the Reds are basically one good piece away from being a playoff team, if the manager would use players more effectively.

    If we traded for an above average LF (or 3B and moved Frazir to LF) we could have a bench of Heisey, Rolen, Ludwick, Cairo, Catcher.

    No one from the left side, but that’s a pretty solid bench. Cairo would have to play SS if Cozart was injured during a game, but whatever.

  5. @Jared: @Jared: Rolen CAN NOT play everyday, even if he returns tot he line up. Baker likes numbers and Frazier has provided, so my guess is that Rolen will be playing 2 games, then Frazier the following or a couple. The Reds can not afford to lose any of those 3rd basemen.

    • @Jared: @Jared: Baker likes numbers

      Numbers like these?
      .205 .238 .344 (Patterson 2008)
      .240 .275 .285 (Taveras 2009)
      .211 .336 .399 (Gomes 2011)
      .207 .289 .405 (Ludwick 2012)

      Billy Beane likes numbers. Dusty is “old school”/”oblivious.”

  6. @Jared: why do you think Paul Janish is out of the big team?, because a younger SS started hitting better. Ludwick is not an everyday player this season, neither Gomes in 2011 (and is not in the team since then by the way). The other 2 players are way too far from today’s Dusty.

  7. Uhh…I’m depressed. Only two things an happen for them to turn out as best-case scenario(Frazier starts at third). Dusty gets fired, new coach keeps Rolen on bench and uses Frazier regularly at third. OR. Scotty R retires. It won’t be popular, I know a lot of people like him. I don’t have an aversion to him or anything, but I know that a Rolen on the active roster is a Rolen that will be in the lineup for better or worse, and in this case, it’ll be much worse. Either Dusty needs the boot or Rolen needs to hang them up. That is what the Reds need to happen.

  8. I don’t see how today’s Dusty Baker is any different than 2008. He consistently plays the vet with no talent/nothing left in the tank over the younger guys. Paul Janish was never covered by this protection.

  9. I don’t believe that Kelch and Brantley were oblivious to the notion that putting Rolen back in the starting lineup will be a downgrade. I think Kelch just got this gig and isn’t about to say anything controversial that will hack anybody off. And Brantley has to work with Marty, and I’ll bet you dollars to donuts The Famer is in Scott Rolen’s corner big time.

    And the problem here just isn’t Baker. He’s a poor decision-maker in situations such as these. We all know that. But, there’s money being spent here, and I can’t help but think that Castellini probably wants to go to the last mile to see that he is getting some return out of the last year of that contract. I’m guessing Walt feels that.

    And we know that all plays right into Baker’s pine tar stained hands.

  10. @Jared: agree on your Janish point, but look at this: Rolen in 2011 65 games only 5 HR, 242/397 SLG. On the other side Frazier only in have those games 34 HR’s, 274/60 SLG. Scott doesnt seem to make a turnaround this year, he is not 100%. Do you think Jacoby and Baker dont see this?

  11. @desertboy: meant 34 games – 6 HR’s. merely a typo.

  12. @desertboy: It blows my mind, but somehow Dusty seems to not be able to see it. He inspired the phrase “never ceases to amaze.”

  13. Defensive stats are pretty hit and miss still, but most metrics seem to thing that Frazier is pretty bad there, and that Rolen is still pretty good there.

    With the pop that Frazier is showing (sustainable?) there’s no reason he can’t just be the every day LF. What else does he have to prove?

    This post is interesting for two reasons. First, we all pretty much agree that Baker will bench Frazier for Rolen when he gets back. But the second reason is actually more interesting I think. It seems implied that Baker will ALSO bench Frazier in favor of Heisey/Ludwick.

    I’m not sure which is actually worse. If you go by WAR it’s Ludwick (.3), Rolen (-.3), and Heisey (-.4). So Frazier should start at 3rd and Ludwick in LF.

    BUT… if you believe that Rolen will hit better, he’s still good in the field, so he’ll probably be better than Ludwick. In that case Frazier should start in LF and Rolen at 3rd.

    I think this makes sense to try, to see if Rolen’s issue really was injury related. If he sucks, change back.

    What ABSOLUTELY doesn’t make sense, is for Frazier to be on the bench to keep Ludwick or Heisey in LF.

  14. @Jared: jajajaa… all right, granted.

  15. @al: agree.

  16. The timeliness of your blog post on Rolen is perfect. And, I must say, I echo all of the sentiment you have carried for Rolen – from when he was first signed, to the much needed player leadership he provided the team, right up to today where he should play a supporting (not starting) role. I personally identify with every point you made.

    Here’s one of the most concerning things about Dusty… he’s overly loyal to certain players, which is a wonderful human trait but not a particularly productive managerial trait. In Rolen he sees a guy who approaches the game the right way. I think his inclination is to honor Rolen for it with playing time – whether it make sense or not. And I think he’s afraid of being the one to tell Rolen that his “everyday” days are up.

    Being THE manager, however, requires that you make the tough decisions for the good of the team. On this matter, I just hope that Dusty can subdue his loyal streak. Because like you, I am getting queasy about Rolen showing readiness for action. It means Dusty will have to pick Frazier or Rolen soon. I’m not confident that manager is going to make the right choice.

  17. I wish I could be as positive that the Reds manager (and front office) will do the smart thing and limit Rolen’s playing time, effectively making Frazier the starter.

    IMO, this is very similar to when Buddy Bell was injured in 1988 and Chris Sabo exploded on the scene, grabbed the position and didn’t let it go for 5 years. (Sabo was 26 with a .734 career minor league OPS (5 minor league seasons) when promoted to the Reds / Frazier is 26 with a .827 minor league OPS (6+ seasons.)

    I could live with Frazier having a “Sabo-like” career with the Reds….I’ll take a World Championship with that also, please.

  18. @al: Like you, I’m shocked no one asked when the shoulder started acting up. When Rolen went on the DL, I commented I thought he was taking a dive, and I still do. Can’t believe no one called me out for such an accusation.

    This is a telling moment for Dusty. He can either 1. stick by the veteran knowing it doesn’t give him the best chance of winning, OR 2. he could be true to his preaching about the young guy having to earn the job when the situation presents itself.

    He can’t have it both ways.

  19. Dusty gets a lot of credit for being a player’s manager, and a lot of that comes from protecting his players and being loyal to the guys that do things the right way.

    But there’s another side to it. Players like to know that success is rewarded and there isn’t favoritism going on.

    I read that there were rumblings in the clubhouse when Frazier was cut after the spring he had. And remember the Todd Frazier chant in the clubhouse after his walkoff HR?

    From everything we know, Frazier is a clubhouse favorite, and I don’t think that some of the guys on the team are going to be very happy when this guy who has paid his dues, and done very little but help the team win a bunch of games and get in first place, gets benched for vets hitting around .200.

    So in terms of being a players manager, Dusty has his work cut out for him. He has to show Rolen respect for his career and leadership, but he can’t just put Frazier aside with some words about “everybody has to wait their turn.” Not at this point. Frazier has done too much for that to sit well in the clubhouse.

    Again, the thing that makes the most sense to me is to make this a competition not between Frazier and anyone, but between Ludwick and Rolen. Frazier plays, but where he plays will be determined by which of the old vets can sustain production.

    • Again, the thing that makes the most sense to me is to make this a competition not between Frazier and anyone, but between Ludwick and Rolen.

      I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

  20. @Sultan of Swaff: Totally agree. When the “injury” happened, I actually thought that Rolen was just going to retire, because in reality what happened is he realized he couldn’t catch up to 90mph anymore.

    We shall see. not long before he got “hurt” he took a 93mph fastball out to dead center in a Brewers game and I thought he might be coming around. Then he didn’t, then he went on the DL.

    If I were Rolen, and I was coming back, I would basically stop trying to hit HR at all. Shorten my swing, and try to get on base any which way I could.

  21. @al: Ha. Nice mind meld we had going there.

  22. One positive that could come of this: Rolen moves back into the cleanup role and Phillips moves back to leadoff. Phillips tears it up at leadoff, Rolen sucks and gets “injured” again, Frazier moves into the cleanup because Dusty can’t take BP out of leadoff since he’s doing so good.

    Hey, we can hope, right?

    This is my dream lineup. I will love the day we finally see it.

    2B Phillips
    SS Cozart
    1B Votto
    3B Frazier
    RF Bruce
    LF Heisey
    CF Stubbs
    C Hanigan
    P

    Phillips excels at leadoff, Cozart excelled hitting 2nd, Votto is Votto, Frazier can slug it, Bruce is Bruce, then you have 2 speedy guys hitting in front of Hanigan who both also have some power to drive in guys hitting in front of them.

    What’s not to like???

    • What’s not to like???

      That Ludwick has a .900+ OPS over the last two weeks and Heisey can’t break .700.

  23. @al:

    al: There is one really big flaw to this logic of getting an “above average” LF or 3B. Who are you going to trade? The farm system is pretty lean with all of the players gone in the Marshall and Latos trades.

    They could have done this in the spring, but decided on Ludwick and the long term for BP instead.

  24. Nothing about the way this team is being run right now makes any sense. It’s a testament to how crappy this division is that we’re in first place. WHat possible sense does it make to bring up Negron instead of Gaithright? Need to make room on the 40-man? How about you cut Negron??? Does anyone think Mike Costanzo is ever going to be in a Reds uniform again? Ludwick and Heisey both had worse springs than Frazier and yet they made the roster over him to platoon in LF. I don’t know why anyone thinks Frazier is suddenly going to supplant BOTH of them and see significant playing time in LF. Not going to happen. Literally the ONLY hope is that Dusty sticks to his “earn your spot” preaching and shows some loyalty to Frazier. It’s a spot like this that I’d hope Votto and BP would step up and say something. That might be a tall request since I’m sure those guys are also insanely loyal to Rolen, but I’d take Joey Votto’s baseball IQ over Dusty Baker’s any day of the week, so I have no doubt that he knows what the smart move would be.

  25. Just to knid of repeat and expand on what I said on another thread:

    Players of Rolen’s stature are treated with deference most places, not just here. I think maybe getting a reputation as an organization that will kick an aging star to the curb might have some negative effect on signing future free agents. They will probably tread lightly.

    I also agree Rolen pretty much DLed himself, and will likely do so again if he feels like he’s killing his team. How long will it take him to decide? Well, it took him a bit too long to shut it down the first time, but when you’re staring down the barrel at the end of your career, who can say?

    I think Rolen will most likely be named the “starter”, but given doubts about his durability dating all the way back to the second half of 2010, and given Frazier’s performance in his extended opportunity, the playing time split might resemble Hanigan/Mesoraco’s more than what it was before the DL stint. That, plus maybe some LF time, and I predict (not that I’d bet much on it) we’ll still see a pretty fair amount of Frazier.

    And who knows? Maybe Rolen’s got a decent half-season left in him. I don’t see it, but it could happen, I suppose.

    • Players of Rolen’s stature are treated with deference most places, not just here.I think maybe getting a reputation as an organization that will kick an aging star to the curb might have some negative effect on signing future free agents.

      I think money talks a whole lot more than playing time when you’re making a long term deal. When these guys are securing their fortune they’re a long way from being benched. If it’s a truly end-of-career vet working on a year or two deal they’re being brought in to play. I don’t think benching a vet who is clearly inferior is going to have the nearly impact on signing as it does on the field.

  26. @CI3J: I’m with you. That’s the lineup I’ve been waiting for. I think if we get that line up and actually remain consistent with it… letting players settle into their roles; the Reds go back to being a dominant offensive presence (even without HR).

  27. @Bob Purkey: I disagree. We don’t necessarily have the prospects to get a superstar, but david dejesus? We got Sean Marshall for a AAA starter without much upside, and he was the Cubs best reliever for two years.

    Here are guys I would be floating (Ranking from Sickles):

    6) Tony Cingrani, LHP, Grade B-: Borderline C+. Relieved in college for Rice but a starter now, developing slider and changeup with good results in Pioneer League. Throws strikes, has a shot at becoming a number three starter. Grade is aggressive but I like him.

    7) Didi Gregorius, SS, Grade C+: Toolsy infielder from Curacao, great throwing arm, good range, still makes a lot of errors. Line drive hitter with poor plate discipline but still young enough at 21 to develop considerably.

    9) Yorman Rodriguez, OF, Grade C+: One of several young Latin American power hitters with poor plate discipline in the system. Age 19, has 20/20 potential but injuries and a poor hitting approach have held him back. Physical potential to be a star, but can he refine it?

    10) Henry Rodriguez, 2B, Grade C+: 21-year-old switch-hitter produced .320/.372/.469 mark with 36 doubles, 13 homers, and 30 steals combined between High-A and Double-A. He has a legitimate bat, but sloppy defense and too many mental mistakes hurt his stock with scouts. If he gets his head on straight, he could be a very impressive player.

    • @al: I disagree. We don’t necessarily have the prospects to get a superstar, but david dejesus? We got Sean Marshall for a AAA starter without much upside, and he was the Cubs best reliever for two years. Here are guys I would be floating (Ranking from Sickles):6) Tony Cingrani, LHP, Grade B-: Borderline C+. Relieved in college for Rice but a starter now, developing slider and changeup with good results in Pioneer League. Throws strikes, has a shot at becoming a number three starter. Grade is aggressive but I like him.7) Didi Gregorius, SS, Grade C+: Toolsy infielder from Curacao, great throwing arm, good range, still makes a lot of errors. Line drive hitter with poor plate discipline but still young enough at 21 to develop considerably.9) Yorman Rodriguez, OF, Grade C+: One of several young Latin American power hitters with poor plate discipline in the system. Age 19, has 20/20 potential but injuries and a poor hitting approach have held him back. Physical potential to be a star, but can he refine it?10) Henry Rodriguez, 2B, Grade C+: 21-year-old switch-hitter produced .320/.372/.469 mark with 36 doubles, 13 homers, and 30 steals combined between High-A and Double-A. He has a legitimate bat, but sloppy defense and too many mental mistakes hurt his stock with scouts. If he gets his head on straight, he could be a very impressive player.

      If Walt didn’t go after him last year when the A’s didn’t give up much for him and then didnt’ go after him in the FA market, I don’t see him going after him now. For whatever reason I don’t think Walt see’s him as someone who would help this team.

  28. @al: Should have just ponied up for Beltran in the offseason. We’d be 8 or 9 games up by now and probably be NL favorites.

  29. @eric nyc: beltran would have been awesome (though he’s not going to keep up his pace), but the reds clearly didn’t have money to add to payroll this year. notice that all of the long-term contracts they gave out either kept this year’s payroll the same or reduced it.

    if they trade for a guy like DeJesus, the idea would be to pay in prospects. I think if you give up two of the guys I listed above plus another non-prospect you can probably get the Cubs to pay all of his salary this year and most of it next year. He’s owed $3mil this year and $5 next year, So if the Cubs include say $5mil, you have a bargain LF who gets on base a ton (at least relative to most Reds players).

    Then the ideal lineup is DeJesus, Phillips, Votto, Frazier, Bruce, Hannigan, Cozart, Stubbs

  30. What we have is the old school of thought in pro sports, and that is you don’t lose your position due to injury. Any sport you look at that is the view. Rolen will return and be the everyday 3rd basemen because of that, the numbers Frazier has put up don’t mean anything.

  31. This just in:

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1212097-mlb-trade-rumors-could-carlos-quentin-be-packing-his-bags-for-cincinnati?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=cincinnati-reds

    It links to an ESPN In$ider report so I can’t see what they’re basing this on, but how awesome would this be? Wonder what it would cost. Could it be as steep as Leake or Bailey? We can’t really afford another AAA-purge. Billy Hamilton?

  32. In Dusty’s favor, he’s a genial and compassionate man and a good clubhouse person. He’s got a strong hitting background, and can help players do better with the bat. He’d make a great hitting coach.

    Against him, he doesn’t appear to be a good judge of talent and is sensitive to the feelings of veterans, leaving them hanging on too long before benching them. He has a problem with Frazier, and it’s easy to see that this problem is spelled R-o-l-e-n. Dusty’s personal feelings interfere with his judgment.

    He’s also a poor game strategist, not seeming to understand the need for a high OBP ahead of his big guns.

    All things considered, I think he got Peter Principled up to managing. I’d like to have him for a Dad and a hitting coach but would like a Tony LaRussa no-nonsense type as manager. New guns are always shooting down the old ones. That’s life.

  33. I think you guys look at this situation as way too much of a Rolen vs Todd Frazier battle. One of Frazier’s talents is that he’s flexible – he has experience playing everywhere on the field, including LF. When Rolen returns I expect Frazier to play most of the time, although splitting time between 3b and LF with Heisey and Ludwick being the guys losing playing time. Heisey is overrated and Ludwick has been so-so. Now the Reds have replaced Frazier at third base in favor of a defensive replacement several times… and they are a team that values defense, which Rolen can offer.

    I expect Rolen will be given playing time, although less than ever. This season he showed a willingness to remove himself from the lineup if he struggles offensively. Rolen has shown that he has no desire to return unless he believes that he’s capable of performing well and helping the team. He hasn’t tried to suggest any sort of timetable, which I admire.

    I think Dusty tends to get stuck in bad situations with questionable rosters. His inability to select a leadoff hitter this season on a team that lacks a good candidate to hit leadoff resembles his favoritism towards Corey Patterson and Willy Taveras when nobody could suggest better options for playing time. Mike Costanzo and related outrage about his replacement is the most recent example.

    The Reds acquired Rolen to be a ‘team leader’ and the players have all made it clear that they root for him and want him to return, moreso than I think they would say about other players. I think they’ll give him a fair chance while being careful not to use him too often. Many fans seem to perceive Rolen as some sort of a cancer that only serves to get in the way. He’s old, he’s struggling, but he’s more of a threat off the bench than what they have already.

  34. @dn4192: I hear you, but that doesn’t stop me from thinking it’s a good idea.

    If I only posted things that conformed with what Walt and Dusty have already done, I’d never say anything but “Let’s get some old cardinals anb bat the worst OBP at the top of the lineup!”

    I reserve the right to propose non-Walt and Dusty endorsed trades.

  35. I see Jeff Francis signed with the Rockies and is scheduled to pitch for them Saturday.

  36. @Jared: @dn4192:

    John Fay seemed to believe that such a deal would require Daniel Corcino, Tony Cingrani, or Billy Hamilton. For two or three months of a soon-to-be free agent with ~27 ABs on the season and a batting average around .240-.260 over the past three years.

  37. @dn4192: Also, on DeJesus, we have no idea what Walt was going for in the trade market last year, so I don’t buy that as proof that he wasn’t interested.

    Then last off-season, we know that he didn’t want to increase payroll much after signing Madson. Ludwick was much cheaper and for one year. So again, I don’t see any proof that Walt doesn’t like him.

    We know that he prioritized pitching last offseason because our pitching sucked and we had the second best offense. Pretty logical. But now that offense is clearly the biggest need, hopefully he’s got an open mind about it.

  38. @dn4192: Here’s the beautiful thing about it: we won’t have too. Corcino and Gregorious could get this deal done. Heisey and LaMarre. It wouldn’t take Hamilton to land him-they gave up two fringe reliever prospects for him in the offseason. If they could get a good-decent prospect and fringe-decent prospect, they’d win the overall trade of two not-going-to-be-anything relievers for a potential rotational piece or starting outfielder.

    Walt would not give up Hamilton for him though. I guarantee that.

    • @dn4192: Here’s the beautiful thing about it: we won’t have too. Corcino and Gregorious could get this deal done. Heisey and LaMarre. It wouldn’t take Hamilton to land him-they gave up two fringe reliever prospects for him in the offseason. If they could get a good-decent prospect and fringe-decent prospect, they’d win the overall trade of two not-going-to-be-anything relievers for a potential rotational piece or starting outfielder.

      Walt would not give up Hamilton for him though. I guarantee that.

      We don’t know what the other teams will want and the Reds are the worst team to follow if you expect to hear any of the intricate details. With the extra Wild Card spots remember that there are fewer teams willing to sell this early and more teams trying to add players. They’ve made it clear that Hamilton isn’t available.

    • @dn4192: Here’s the beautiful thing about it: we won’t have too. Corcino and Gregorious could get this deal done. Heisey and LaMarre. It wouldn’t take Hamilton to land him-they gave up two fringe reliever prospects for him in the offseason. If they could get a good-decent prospect and fringe-decent prospect, they’d win the overall trade of two not-going-to-be-anything relievers for a potential rotational piece or starting outfielder.Walt would not give up Hamilton for him though. I guarantee that.

      I think to get the guy from SD, you are looking at a bidding war that is going to drive the price way up and costing a number of quality prospects.

  39. I would offer Hamilton straight up for him right now.without even batting an eye…

    You would chance of being fired

    • You would chance of being fired

      Fired for what? There is zero proof that Hamilton will ever be anything on the major league level. He is fast and can steal bases and is maybe 3 years away from even being on a ML roster. This guy in SD is a proven ML talent. I make that deal everyday..

      • Fired for what?There is zero proof that Hamilton will ever be anything on the major league level.He is fast and can steal bases and is maybe 3 years away from even being on a ML roster.This guy in SD is a proven ML talent.I make that deal everyday..

        That ‘proven ML talent’ in San Diego has 27 ABs this season, has hit around .250 for the past three years, and is a few months away from free agency. Billy Hamilton is a gamble, like any prospect, but he’s also a guy who can help the Reds for a long, long time. I think Hamilton is far more valuable than two months of Carlos Quentin. A trade for Billy Hamilton would be a huge steal for the Padres.

        Trading top prospects for a mediocre rental player, I think that’s cause for criticism and an important thing to consider when evaluating a GM’s performance.

      • @dn4192:

        Fired for what?There is zero proof that Hamilton will ever be anything on the major league level.He is fast and can steal bases and is maybe 3 years away from even being on a ML roster.This guy in SD is a proven ML talent.I make that deal everyday..

        On this, Hamilton could break camp with the big league club this year. He could get moved to AA any day now, and if he continues to hit and get on base, he’ll get a September call-up to AAA. If he performs well for the 4 or 5 games he’ll play there, and then dominates next spring, he could break camp. A more likely scenario is He starts next year off at AAA and then get’s the call up after June 1st.

        But no one could ever justify a top 20 prospect for a two year stop-gap replacement of an oft-injured, 29 year old left fielder.

        • @dn4192: On this, Hamilton could break camp with the big league club this year. He could get moved to AA any day now, and if he continues to hit and get on base, he’ll get a September call-up to AAA. If he performs well for the 4 or 5 games he’ll play there, and then dominates next spring, he could break camp. A more likely scenario is He starts next year off at AAA and then get’s the call up after June 1st.But no one could ever justify a top 20 prospect for a two year stop-gap replacement of an oft-injured, 29 year old left fielder.

          He has had a full season at low A and now a quarter of a season at High A and you have him on the ML roster by Sept. of 2013? Playing where? His defense isn’t anywhere near Cozart so he isn’t going to be at SS. Hitting on low A and High A does not mean he hits even on the AA or AAA level. Again, win now, worry about the future later on.

          • He has had a full season at low A and now a quarter of a season at High A and you have him on the ML roster by Sept. of 2013?Playing where?His defense isn’t anywhere near Cozart so he isn’t going to be at SS.Hitting on low A and High A does not mean he hits even on the AA or AAA level.Again, win now, worry about the future later on.

            Centerfield is the likely option, replacing the somewhat unpopular Drew Stubbs.

            Value both short and long term goals, don’t make foolish decisions that you’ll regret.

  40. You would chance of being fired

    Err…stupid phone. You would get fired unless the Reds won the WS, which acquring Quentin doesnt actually their odds enough. It would be interesting to see how much Quentin would affect the Vegas lines though. I guess if WJ did trade Hamiltin for Quentin, he might as well actually go all in. He would be panned across MLB anyway…

  41. I am not going to worry too much about Rolen until he is actually reinstated…he will get playing time over at 3b regardless, which he probably should, because otherwise the Reds will have no clue if he can still play or not. The real question for me is what the Reds do with LF. The Reds make enough dumb mistakes repeatedly that we are plenty busy as is…jfc Reds’ leadoff hitter has OBP of .292.

  42. Fired for what?There is zero proof that Hamilton will ever be anything on the major league level.He is fast and can steal bases and is maybe 3 years away from even being on a ML roster.This guy in SD is a proven ML talent.I make that deal everyday..

    Its irrelevant whether you would make the deal, the issue is whether a semi-competent GM would. You apparently dont place any value on prospects, which makes this conversation kind of pointless. But you are also being remarkably lazy…there are easy to find trades that at least somewhat mirror the situation. Why dont you look up what Carlos Beltran or Cliff Lee fetched and get back to us. You can play with your toys after you do your homework. 😀

    • Its irrelevant whether you would make the deal, the issue is whether a semi-competent GM would. You apparently dont place any value on prospects, which makes this conversation kind of pointless. But you are also being remarkably lazy…there are easy to find trades that at least somewhat mirror the situation. Why dont you look up what Carlos Beltran or Cliff Lee fetched and get back to us. You can play with your toys after you do your homework.

      What either of those two “fetched” has zero baring on this deal. Those deals were last year and the previous year when the league was operating under different rules. Right now there is like maybe only 2-3 teams NOT in the playoff race. This increases the number of suiters for this player.

      Also, GM’s give up top level prospects all the time for ML talent, look around the league. Hamilton is a top prospect, but that doesn’t mean he will be a ML talent of any value. How many “top” prospects go on to be quality ML talent? Again, add Quinten from SD now, and we move up to either the top team in the NL or top 2. That gets you more ticket sales and increases your chances of making the WS NOW. Then you go draft some more kids…

      I will take winning NOW over what might be in 3-4 years out of a speedy guy…

      • What either of those two “fetched” has zero baring on this deal.Those deals were last year and the previous year when the league was operating under different rules.Right now there is like maybe only 2-3 teams NOT in the playoff race.This increases the number of suiters for this player.

        Also, GM’s give up top level prospects all the time for ML talent, look around the league.Hamilton is a top prospect, but that doesn’t mean he will be a ML talent of any value.How many “top” prospects go on to be quality ML talent?Again, add Quinten from SD now, and we move up to either the top team in the NL or top 2.That gets you more ticket sales and increases your chances of making the WS NOW.Then you go draft some more kids…

        I will take winning NOW over what might be in 3-4 years out of a speedy guy…

        Not all top prospects go on to be successful major league players but most major league talent used to be a top prospect. The Reds are a small market team that needs to rely on young players and prospects. I don’t think a LF who can hit ~.250 is going to draw in all that many fans. I don’t know many people who would buy tickets because of him.

        I will take years of the speedy guy beginning in 2013 or 2014 over two months of a mediocre hitter like Quentin. I prefer winning long term to making foolish moves that don’t help short or long term.

  43. @dn4192: Walt doesn’t get his head blown up by that sort of thing though. He took his time with Madson(rightly or wrongly), took his time with LF(rightly or wrongly), and really made his decision on Latos and went after it. We could have gotten Gio for less(probably), but LAtos is younger and has higher upside that Gio does. I know my argument looks stupid right now, seeing as Gio is probably top three in discussion for NL Cy Young and Latos is barely the fourth best pitcher on his own staff, but he’s been dominant before and he’ll become dominant again. I forget whether it was Chad or Steve in the recap after one of Latos’ recent starts, there was a tweet posted that said “Latos with a ERA over 5-frightening. The Reds in first with Mat Latos bound to dramatically improve-somewhat more frightening” or something to that effect. All in all, this isn’t even the point I’m making.

    Walt doesn’t get in bidding wars(apparently. I’m obviously not in the room when he’s making transactions. So theoretically, he could just get outbid a lot and we don’t know it). I don’t see the Reds throwing in Hamilton when Gregorious alone may land you a Seth Smith, maybe you spice it(Corcino and Gregorious?) up to go get Reddick, or maybe the Reds go after a big-time guy like Wright or someone else of his caliber and they offer up a huge farm-decimating package. Who knows. but Hamilton won’t be involved with the Quentin talks. Walt simply wouldn’t let it come to that.

    • @dn4192: Walt doesn’t get his head blown up by that sort of thing though. He took his time with Madson(rightly or wrongly), took his time with LF(rightly or wrongly), and really made his decision on Latos and went after it. We could have gotten Gio for less(probably), but LAtos is younger and has higher upside that Gio does. I know my argument looks stupid right now, seeing as Gio is probably top three in discussion for NL Cy Young and Latos is barely the fourth best pitcher on his own staff, but he’s been dominant before and he’ll become dominant again. I forget whether it was Chad or Steve in the recap after one of Latos’ recent starts, there was a tweet posted that said “Latos with a ERA over 5-frightening. The Reds in first with Mat Latos bound to dramatically improve-somewhat more frightening” or something to that effect. All in all, this isn’t even the point I’m making.

      Walt doesn’t get in bidding wars(apparently. I’m obviously not in the room when he’s making transactions. So theoretically, he could just get outbid a lot and we don’t know it). I don’t see the Reds throwing in Hamilton when Gregorious alone may land you a Seth Smith, maybe you spice it(Corcino and Gregorious?) up to go get Reddick, or maybe the Reds go after a big-time guy like Wright or someone else of his caliber and they offer up a huge farm-decimating package. Who knows. but Hamilton won’t be involved with the Quentin talks. Walt simply wouldn’t let it come to that.

      You don’t know what they did or didn’t want from the Reds for Gio. The Reds front office never mentioned who they would consider acquiring let alone who they would offer or what the opposing team wanted in return. It’s a lot easier to say they could have traded for him than suggesting a deal that would have worked for both the Reds and A’s.

  44. @hermanbates: by this year I mean next. Obviously

  45. @hermanbates: Exactly what I was going to say. If Walt is going to give up Hamilton to bring in a bat, he’s going to go after someone MUCH bigger/better than Quentin.

    Quentin can put up impressive numbers when healthy, but throughout his career that has been few and far between, and he’s now almost 30. If the Reds can give up Gregorius and a mid-level pitching prospect to get him, then yes. But not your top prospect in the organization.

  46. rant/Wow. It seems that Scott Rolen should stay away from the bus station if any of you posters are around. Where do I start? How about the assumption that SRolen is Damaged goods. Why assume that? Really, has Scott Rolen made a career out of misleading others about his status? He took himself out of tthe lineup – it was not against his wishes..
    If you really think SRolen would put himself before the team, that he would knowingly go out there day after day hurting his team’s chances, for some unmentionrd reason Ii think you are sorely misjudging him. You never say why he would do this., yet it is implicit in every post. AT LEAST GIVE THE REASON why you think he’s that kind of turd. Do you know something about him that I don’t? Tell me. /rant

    • If you really think SRolen would put himself before the team, that he would knowingly go out there day after day hurting his team’s chances, for some unmentionrd reason Ii think you are sorely misjudging him. You never say why he would do this., yet it is implicit in every post. AT LEAST GIVE THE REASON why you think he’s that kind of turd. Do you know something about him that I don’t? Tell me.

      I don’t imagine *anybody* thinks that. Rolen’s a class act, and I’m sure he felt like he could get it together and help this team. I’d also imagine that it would take a while to come to the decision that you’re not getting it together and step aside.

      I’d also also imagine that, if he doesn’t show some signs of improvement pretty quickly, he’ll be the first one to pull the plug again. I can’t help but wish him luck.

  47. Hello Guys,

    FNG to the site.. I have been a Reds fan all my life (25) i follow them pretty big in the 90’s as a child. Little bit when griffy was on our team and then i forgot about them. That is until 2010 Yeah it took a decade for us to even be mentioned again.. I know the majority of you guys are hardcore fans. and are analysis things and are enjoying it.. BUT DAMN guys WE are in First PLACE with pretty much half the season over!

    Id say we are doing pretty damn good compared to normal!

  48. @seat101: You’re putting words in peoples’ mouths. Scott Rolen was hurting this team by getting out 83% of the time he came to bat. I think his decline is pretty clear. Maybe he’ll bat better than .170 when he gets back, but is there any reasonable hope that he’ll improve that by 100 points?

    The disgust you’re reading in to is Dusty’s insistence on creating a handicap by not fielding the best team. I don’t think anyone has any ill will toward Rolen.

  49. @dn4192: I did have the qualifier “if he continues to hit and get on base” I wasn’t proclaiming some profoud statement that he will be. But to say he’s three years away is as farfetched, if not more, than saying he’ll be here next year. Anything could happen, and it’s been obvious for awhile he wasn’t gonna stick at short. He’ll get moved to the OF or to 2B if the Reds try(and succeed) in moving BP sometime.

    But by selling him off Carlos Quentin(consistently injured, older, only have him for 2 years, if that) you are getting rid of a potential star for a complementary starter. That’s not a smart trade. If you’re going to move Hamilton, send him somewhere that will land you a long term solution that is a stud. Not a two-year, older, injured player. Think both now AND future. It doesn’t have to be you think one way and not the other.

  50. @seat101: please refer to my post, the first on this thread. the substance was, rolen, the reds, and the media all told us that he was healthy in spring training and to start the season.

    then scott rolen was terrible at hitting.

    he said many things during that time, but never did i read a report where he said, i think i have reinjured my shoulder.

    finally, after more than a month of sucking, rolen says: my shoulder STILL isn’t healthy, and the media all went along for the ride, pleasantly forgetting the all of march and april where he was ostensibly healthy. it’s like it never happened.

    so, you’re defending rolen here, you tell me what happened.

    was he ever healthy? if not, why were we told he was?

    did he re-injure himself at some point? if so, when? is it clear that his production went down after that point? why not go on the DL then?

    it all just looks too much like a player who is actually “healthy” but just too old and had too many injuries over time to play at this level any more. i’m listening if you have answers though.

  51. @hermanbates: People are WAY over valuing Carlos Quentin & I think the ESPN article is pure speculation on their part (they are very good at that). Quentin has been hot, VERY HOT (.481/.533/1.185), since coming off the DL, but let’s be realistic. CWS traded him to SD for two minor league pitchers who had failed miserably at their only shot in AAA and are now both pitching in AA again. His career line is .255/.348/.499, not nearly as impressive as his current production. He might very well be coming this way, but not at a supreme cost.

  52. I guess I’m the lone guy here who thinks Rolen won’t get much playing time if he can’t hit. Rolen himself won’t want to play if he stinks.

    If the Reds shopped Billy Hamilton, they’d get offered a lot more than Carlos Quentin. Hamilton is Willie McGee/Deion Sanders fast, and they pay him less than a secretary. They’d be nuts to get rid of him.

  53. There are NO rumors out there that the Reds are interested in Quentin. Buster Olney mentioned that he thought Quentin would be a good fit with the Reds and the Reds could put him in the middle of the order.

    As far as I know, the Reds haven’t even contacted SD about him.

    Don’t get your hopes up.

    • There are NO rumors out there that the Reds are interested in Quentin. Buster Olney mentioned that he thought Quentin would be a good fit with the Reds and the Reds could put him in the middle of the order.As far as I know, the Reds haven’t even contacted SD about him.Don’t get your hopes up.

      I think there is a better chance of Chapman being moved to the starting rotation then Walt pulling off any kind of deal this season to add a major bat/lf to this club. Walt is figuring the answers will come from whom is here and whom is in the minors.

      As for Rolen, anyone who thinks he won’t be the everyday 3rd basemen/4 or 5 hitter upon his return are just fulling themselvs. The ONLY way Frazier gets the majority of playing time at 3rd is with Rolen on the DL.

  54. @Robert: You may be correct, you may not be. Seeing the Reds deficiencies and having and understanding that most GMs are in pretty consistent dialogue, it’s hard to imagine that the Padres haven’t called and offered Quentin for Hamilton stragiht up or Walt hasn’t jokingly extended and offer of Wilson Valdez for him. But perhaps nothing serious has happened. Truth is, none of us but the big guys at the top know.

    With that said, I’d be more shocked if a deal didn’t get done with someone for something than I would if we just stood pat. Still a lot of time until the trade deadline.

  55. @hermanbates: @dn4192:

    i fall somewhere in between on this one. i don’t think hamilton for quentin is THAT lopsided, but it’s certainly a better deal for the padres than it is for us.

    trading hamilton seems reasonable to me though since we have long-term solutions at SS and 2B. I could see hamilton for quentin, all of his salary for this year, and a decent prospect of theirs. they have a few guys without the ceiling of hamilton that would work.

    straight up though, i don’t think it’s worth it. the reds are in first place after all. i think the braintrust is happy with a playoff appearance this year and letting some of the older guys make their way off of the roster next year.

    rolen, ludwick and cairo are all gone next year. i think they’ll wait until then to do a major roster overhaul, rather than give up their best prospect.

    if we were in second or third it would be a different story, they clearly want to get to the playoffs again this year.

  56. Take a look at Derek Jeter’s minor-league record on baseball-reference.com. It looks pretty much like Hamilton, although Jeter was more polished out of high school and was a year ahead of Hamilton. Jeter made 56 errors in the Sally League, then exploded to a .410 OBP in his first year at High A (and above). Hamilton’s OBP this year is .410.

    Walt is not going to trade him.

  57. I don’t expect to see Hamilton up here this year or next – from what I’ve read, he’s still terrible in the field (and if they’re planning to move him elsewhere, hadn’t they best get on with it), undisciplined at the plate, and his base stealing technique is poor at present – he’s succeeding on pure speed. His OBP is inflated somewhat by the fact that, against single A level infielders, a normal depth SS or 3B often can’t throw him out on a chopper – opponents have been playing the infield in every time he bats. He’s still VERY rough.

    I’m still fascinated to see what becomes of him, though, and don’t want to see him traded. But I would move him for the right guy. I just don’t know who the right guy would be.

    But I know who he ain’t – Carlos Freakin’ Quentin.

  58. Almost everybody seems to be saying “If we just had another manager, they would see that Frazier needs to be at 3B and Rolen needs to be on the bench when he returns.” That just isn’t true though. It isn’t a matter of the manager. You saw what Steve wrote about the conversation between Brantley and Kelch and many of you heard the conversation first-hand. That thinking is not only how they think and how Dusty thinks it’s how a vast majority of MLB coaches and managers think.

    If the Reds had another manager upon Rolen’s return, it is an almost certainty that Rolen would get the majority of time at 3B. They may find more playing time for Frazier but Rolen would get most the time at 3B. There are very few exceptions. The veteran, especially the borderline HOF-candidate veteran, gets the benefit of the doubt.

    I like stats. I like advanced metrics. I like the ability they give me to go into deeper analysis of the game and it’s players. That said, at the end of the day the game is played by people. It isn’t Dusty, it’s baseball in general and the mindset of ex-players and former professional athletes. If back and healthy, Rolen is going to be in there. Is it the best decision? Unless he comes back on fire the numbers would likely say “no” but the heart says “yes”.

  59. I thought Chris Heisey was going to refute my initial thoughts regarding his proper role and take the LF spot, but he just simply does not get on base enough and his power is dwon significantly as a starter. Alas, I believe is going to be a major league pinch hitter, but a pinch hitter extrordinar. With no outfielder in the minor league system within two years of being major league ready, I think a move to obtain a RH-hitting, run-producing LF is probably necessary. Carlos Quentin is one possibility, but three other possibilities, all signed through 2014, could be Michael Cuddyer (Twins), Josh Hamilton (Athletics), and Billy Butler (Royals). All three play for teams going nowhere soon, but a package might be structured that included young pitching to pry one of the four loose.

  60. @BloodyHo: Cuddyer plays for Col. He signed as a free-agent and I don’t see them moving him. I think Butler would be hard to get too. He’s also pretty brutal in LF.

  61. Boy, I had a nice reply for everyone, hit “post comment” and my post disappeared.

  62. Well Cards lose another player to DL..how many is that for them now and this time it’s there no. 4 pitcher Jamie Garcia. How are they staying in this race?

  63. Hamilton is untouchable IMO. The Reds haven’t had a legitimate leadoff hitter in quite some time, and he fits the bill. Plus he is under control for 7 years once he hits the majors.

    At what point is the organization going to see what they have in these kids? Frazier is already 26 years old and they are considering benching him for a 36 year old with multiple back and shoulder problems. We don’t know what Heisey can do if given an OF job everyday and they refuse to see because Ludwick “offers something that Heisey can’t.” We don’t know if Chapman can be a starter 2.5 years into his contract.

  64. @dn4192: Getting Latos back to normal and Bruce back to normal may just be as good as an acquisition.

    • @dn4192: Getting Latos back to normal and Bruce back to normal may just be as good as an acquisition.

      Back to normal? don’t understand? Bruce is about at his normal production and Latos is still a work in progress and will get better…not sure what you consider normal?

  65. For the record, I was never suggesting I thought Billy Hamilton for Carlos Quentin was a good trade. I just think Quentin would be a really good addition to this lineup and was wondering out loud what it might take to land him. The conversation has mostly been centered around BH, but what do people think of Bailey or Leake plus Heisey? I think we’ve seen Heisey’s ceiling and it’s not that great. And frankly I’m a little sick of waiting on Bailey to finally put it together. Petco helps struggling Reds pitchers out, so it would probably be the best thing for Homer. I think Leake still has a lot of upside so I’d be less keen on losing him. But I have to admit it would be a little strange to see 3 of our last 6 first round picks all wearing Padres uniforms.

  66. @eric nyc: leake might interest them, because of the years of team control, but i can’t imagine why they’d be interested in heisey (who seems to have lost all his power this year and generally be terrible) or bailey (who’s only got a two more years of team control and has never been an above average pitcher).

  67. if you think that Frazier is the answer to 3rd base you’re crazy.Good thing we have a gold glove at first because 3/4 on Frazier’s throws are either off line or in the dirt.

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About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

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2012 Reds, Dusty's Lineup Shenanigans, Reds - General

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