When the Jays traded Troy Glaus for Scott Rolen last offseason, I was in favour of the trade, despite the risk of taking on Rolen, who was coming off a subpar season and yet another shoulder surgery. While Troy Glaus is a solid player, offering average defense at third base and above-average offense at his position, Rolen had the higher upside of the two. His defense at the hot corner is stellar, and his career offensive numbers were better than Glaus'. I wasn't expecting Rolen to return to his early 2000 production, which was off the charts, but thought if the Jays were confident that the surgery was successful, that Rolen could put together a season like 2006 and that would make him a far more valuable piece than Glaus. Throw in the fact that Glaus had trouble with plantar fascitis (a painful though acute condition, but one in which prolonged contact with hard surfaces can delay recovery) and had privately requested a trade off Toronto's field-turf and the fact that Rolen had an extra year on his contract over Glaus but the Jays had no one looking ready to step in that year (2010) and I thought it was the kind of upside deal that a team like the Jays, striving to compete in the tough AL East with quality pitching but lots of average to slightly-above offensive players, had to make.
The deal hasn't worked out for the Jays yet, as Rolen had some nagging shoulder problems and didn't perform to his 2006 levels (though he was better than 2007) offensively and Glaus had a solid year, but if you look at Fangraphs value, at least, the trade was neutral for the Jays (value from 2007-2008), though a big plus for the Cards. But, as we've discussed this offseason, Rolen returned from a DL stint in September and really looked solid at the plate. It's possible he just took advantage of resting a tired shoulder, but Rolen's hot September came with talk about how he had altered his swing to compensate for some loss of range of motion in his shoulder. I was skeptical that such an adjustment would be successful, to be honest, but Rolen's great month at the plate shut me up quickly. Now it's easy to see why Jays' fans are optimistic about Rolen in 2009 - if he hits like he did in September (.877 OPS) and fields like he did all season, that's almost an MVP-caliber season.
Anyway, enough of my talking. Time to put it on the table - what's your projection for Rolen's Plate Appearances, AVG/OBP/SLG line, runs above average in the field (0 average, 5 good, 10 very good, 15 gold glove, 20 all-time great, and the same in reverse), and add in any counting stats you want to project for good measure. Cito said he thought Rolen and Overbay could combine for 50 home runs or more - so I'm interested in how many folks think Rolen could hit.