Sixteen years ago today. The trade was official on the 14th, but we got wind of it on the 12th, so let’s split the difference. In the middle of a very slow January for Blue Jays 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 exchanging players who 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 trouble?). Troy had a lot of power. He hit 58 home runs in his two 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 four 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 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 some injuries. He signed with the Braves as a free agent before the 2010 season and had 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 (though Chapman gives him a run for the title). Rolen also quickly became a fan favourite. He played 88 games for the Jays in 2009, hitting .320/.370/.476. We traded him to the Reds for Edwin Encarnacion, Josh Roenicke and Zack Stewart.
At the time, the trade seemed pretty good, considering that Rolen had wanted to get out of Toronto. It was an excellent trade for reasons we didn’t expect. Roenicke didn’t turn out to be of any value. Stewart didn’t do much for us, but he became a significant piece of a complicated pair of trades that netted Colby Rasmus (who had some good and bad moments with us).
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 bWAR value of 24.4 bWAR (7th).
Anyway, I’m digressing miles from the topic. 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. Without the trade for Rolen, we wouldn’t have gotten Edwin.
I liked watching Rolen. He was a fan favourite, getting called the GOAT before he had 50 at-bats with the Blue Jays.
It turned out to be one of JP’s good trades.