Twelve years ago today (time flies), January 12, 2008 in the middle of what had been very slow January for Blue Jay news, the Jays traded Troy Glaus to the Cardinals for Scott Rolen. As Hugo said, in his post on the trade, it was two teams each trading off a player that didn’t want to be with them anymore.
Glaus was having foot troubles (plantar fasciitis), which, he felt, were made worse by playing on the carpet covered concrete at Rogers Centre (who would have thought playing baseball on concrete might cause troubles? The new ‘carpet’ seems massively better than the old stuff). Troy had a lot of power, he hit 58 home runs in his 2 seasons with the Jays (even though he had only played 115 games in 2007).
Rolen had been having problems of his own, he had missed 196 games over the previous 4 years with the Cardinals. And he had a rocky relationship with manager Tony La Russa (similar to the troubles Colby Rasmus would have a few years later). Scott hit just .265/.331/.398, with 8 home runs, in 2008, the season before the trade.
Glaus had a pretty good 2008 season with the Cards, hitting .270/.372/.483 with 27 home runs and 99 RBI in 151 games, but he played only 14 games in 2009 due to a number of injuries. After that season he signed with the Braves as a free agent, and had a bit of a bounce back year hitting .240/.344/.400 with 16 homers in 128 games. That was the end of his career.
Rolen missed 47 games in 2008, starting the season on the DL. When he did play he hit .262/.349/.431 with 11 homers and 50 RBI, and played great defense. I don’t think anyone would argue too much if I said he was the best defensive third baseman we’ve ever had. Rolen also quickly became a fan favorite. He played 88 games for the Jays, in 2009, hitting .320/.370/.476, before he was traded to the Reds for Edwin Encarnacion, Josh Roenicke and Zack Stewart.
At the time, the trade seemed like a pretty good one, especially considering that Rolen had wanted to get out of Toronto. It turned out to be a great trade for reasons we didn’t expect at the time. Roenicke didn’t turn out to be of any value. Stewart didn’t do much for us, but he turned into a major piece of a complicated pair of trades that netted us Colby Rasmus.
Edwin, who was considered a throw in, intended to balance the salaries a bit, turned out to be the piece that won us the trade.
After the trade, Rolen played 330 games for the Reds hitting .263/.332/.438, with 36 home runs, 182 RBI and a bWAR of 7.6. He retired after the 2012 season.
Edwin played 999 games, for the Jays, with a .268/.355/.522 slash line, 310 home runs (number 3 in franchise history), 679 RBI (6th) and a WAR value of 24.4 bWAR (7th).
I think it is clear that the Jays had the better part of the Rolen/Glaus trade, not so much because Rolen was that much better for the Jays than Glaus was for the Cards, but because we could trade Rolen younger player. Without trading trading for Rolen, we wouldn’t have traded for Edwin.
This turned out to be one of JP’s good trades, and it set up a trade that worked out even better for him.