My take

I’ve done a lot of thinking about this deal over the past two days, and I think last night I finally hit on what I think about it. I sort of alluded to this in today’s mailbag, but this is my view:

It really comes down to whether you think the Cardinals HAD to move Rolen. That has to inform any assessment. If you think that the TLR-SR relationship was such a problem that they simply had to move him, then I think it’s hard not to like this trade. If you think it was workable, then it’s hard to like it too much.

Because I think, in the end, it’s a pretty even swap on value. Rolen’s top-end potential is higher. At his best, he’s at least as productive a hitter (look at that 2004 OBP… tasty!) and obviously a better fielder. But on the other hand, it seems that Glaus is more likely to reach MOST of his ability. His injury seems to be more manageable and seems to have less of an impact on his production. So whereas Rolen’s 90th percentile is something like 310/420/590 with a Gold Glove, his 50th percentile is a lot less than that.

So if you feel they had to move him, then I think you’ve got to be pleased that they’re not getting 50 cents on the dollar. If the premise is that they had no choice, then getting even value is actually a pretty nice accomplishment. But if you feel they didn’t have to move him, then there’s not much point in moving a guy for an equivalent guy. Devil you know, devil you don’t, etc etc etc.

And my copout personal analysis is that they felt they pretty much had to move him. So to get a genuinely productive hitter, and apparently at least a competent defender, is a nice pickup. I don’t give it a glowing, raving A-plus-plus, but I think I give it a solid B or so.

-M.

33 Comments

I have no beefs with anything you wrote, and agree with it all. I just want to know what M. is listening to. Still on the Foo’s?

do you see any other moves being made at this point (ie signing another starter, etc) or would you say this is the end of the offseason moves for the Cardinals?

haymatto stole my question. is management content with the starting lineup -or are they pursuing a clear/obvious leadoff hitter? is the market pretty weak for another arm this off-season?

incidentally, i wrote this question as a mailbag email two weeks ago, and it went unanswered… (not a knock against Matthew at all, I’m just saying…)

I think if no more deals are made, this might be a pretty good team–if Reyes will listen to Duncan, if Thompson can keep his cool, etc. A lot could hinge on chemistry. Who’s the lead “chemist” likely to be–the clubhouse leader? Several veterans are gone now, so does Albert wear the mantle?

I could be the lead chemist. That’s my major *nod*

Like I said before, there are mixed feelings on this trade. But, because how bad the feud was getting, it had to be done. Hopefully it turns out to be a good trade.

Best of luck to Rolen in Toronto.

I love the Cardinals so much that I’ve been trying to figure a way to justify this. For me, not TLR. But that’s where it stopped, because there is no way to justify this to me.The mere fact that this happened due to TLR’s big, fat mouth just burns me up inside.The fact that I know this would never have happened if we had a manager who could manage players and not just numbers, well, that eats me up inside too. I just can’t understand why you cater to TLR’s ego like this. He’s not worth it. I hope Scott Rolen hits 40 homers with 100+ rbi, and I hope Troy Glaus bombs. Not cause I don’t like Troy, but because LaRussa deserves nothing but bad karma!

How is this catering to La Russa’s ego if it was Rolen that demanded the trade, like he did with Philly?

Let’s face it – the hay days when Albert, Edmonds and Rolen ruled are long gone. I really loved Jimmy Ed and Scott. But, the truth is, Edmonds and Rolen have not produced for three years. Rolen may have wanted to play thru the pain, but he was not getting it done. What was Tony to do? Keep stranding baserunners?

I hope Jimmy and Scott have great years. But, I think we will be a better team in 2008 than we were in the last three, World Series not withstanding.

It’s catering to LaRussa’s ago, because LaRussa is the one that called out Scott IN PUBLIC no less. AND because Scott wouldn’t have ASKED for a trade, NOT demanded a trade, if the organization hadn’t already catered to Tony by resigning him…KNOWING that he doesn’t get along with players and KNOWING that he had a problem with Scotty, Albert, and other former players he’s had run-ins with. Do You really think it’s all because those players were too high and mighty?!? Come on! It’s obviously Tony LaRussa. Ray King and Steve Kline have never had issues with their other managers. At least not publicly, where everyone knows about it and the manager is trashing the player in public…IN THE OFF SEASON, concerning the man’s credibility and value to the organization. Tony LaRussa is shameless and classless.

And why is it that everyone is ready to dump a perennial All-Star and a perennial Gold Glover, because they haven’t produced at prime level for a year or two? You know there used to be a certain level of loyalty in life that no longer exists. Why not keep Jim Edmonds until he retires? He would be invaluable as a tutor to Rick Ankiel…both offensively AND defensively. So what if he’s not hitting 40 homers a year if he’s passing on his knowledge to new blood and shaping the next great Cardinals CF. I wish baseball would stop treating players like assets and investments, and treat players like people.I know free agency started this, but someone needs to end it!

you do realize that tony larussa is not the cart, the reins and the horse for this team, don’t you? if it was up to slf we should get rid of the second most winning-est manager, so we can hold on to a broken down 72′ ford pick up that we still owe 15,000 dollars on. fan favorite or not, i loved watching scottie, but face it, one player does not win in a team sport definitely not sitting on the dl.

Rolen hasn’t been effective for a whole season since 2004, Jimmy same deal. I would have loved for them to stick around, but their contracts were too outrageous for guys that were inconsistent and injury prone.
Don’t forget that La Russa thinks Rolen is a great player and a potential HoFer. He’s said that in public too. He also, in that little tirade (which i do not condone, nor will i pretend to), said what should have been said. If Rolen performs and is healthy, he would be in the lineup, if not he will sit. You do what you can to win.

If Rolen wasn’t due to earn 12 million a year the next three years, I’d be less willing to get rid of him. But we can’t be spending 12 mil a year, or 10 mil a year in Edmonds case,for a guy to be inconsistent and on the DL.

It seems to me that neither TLR nor Rolen are blameless in this soap opera.

In any case it doesn’t matter much now because what’s done is done and the question is are the Cards better off now than before the two trades?

My understanding is that Edmonds didn’t want to play the role of tutor to Ankiel. He wanted to be a regular and given his time on the dl the last couple of years and the fact that he is a year older and he was willing to OK a trade to a west coast team (indicating that he may have been less than happy to play the role of tutor). I can’t see how a manager who wanted to win could choose to plan on him being the regular center fielder. I don’t think that would be responsible to the organization or the fans. I just wish they had gotten more for him than a minor leaguer who is unlikely to ever be a better than average major leaguer. That having been said, I LOVED WATCHING HIM PLAY CENTERFIELD and hope he has a decent year to end his career.

With regard to the Rolen-Glaus deal I hate to see Rolen go. I think Rolen is a wizard at third base and can do things there that I wouldn’t have believed possible. I also loved the way he played the game. He NEVER hot dogged. I think he is a classy player and that is why I wish him well. But he hasn’t been healthy for three years and even if he recovers it seems doubtful that he will be back to 2004 form. After all he is 3 years older with several shoulder surgeries. Given the health questions and the fact that he didn’t want to be in StL, I think adds up to a high probability of a sub-par year. I actually think Mo worked something of a minor miracle getting a player that is arguably an even exchange on the field and actually saving some salary and not locking in for a long-term deal when the entire universe knows Rolen wanted a trade and any team interested would likely charge an arm and a leg for him or give nothing in return for him.

My big question here is that the only thing we seemed to have gained in the Edmonds trade is some salary ($6 mill) and if I understand the Rolen-Glaus deal we picked up another $12 mill. WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO DO WITH THE MONEY? Will they go after another bat or another QUALITY starting pitcher? If so where? I’m not as knowledgeable about what’s available as I’d like to be but I don’t see what’s available for the kind of cash.

Oops! I forgot the $12 mill pick up on the Glaus deal doesn’t show up until 2010. So I guess they only picked up $6 mill for next year.

I have a question. Troy Glaus had shipments of steroids sent to his home address. How do we know he can produce his usual numbers without the juice? The Cardinals are starting to look like a safe haven for often-injured pitchers and banned substance users. just a thought…..

Just curious with Scott not willing to work for TLR what would that of done with the chemistry of the whole team? Has it affected them before? It would of been nice if both men could of acted like men and worked it out, but since they couldnt one of them had to go, one of the winningest managers in baseball or a oft injured sulking 3rd baseman? I dont care for TLR I think he could be a little more understanding in dealing with his players.

manor, your comment disgusts me. Not cause of your opinion, which is valid, but because you compare an athlete, who is human, to a truck. Once again showing that the thinking is baseball has strayed from being anything but humanizing. I understand the opposing viewpoint, and again, it’s a valid argument to say that when two people can’t work together, one must go. I’m not trying to refute that. I’m saying I’d like to see some signs that these people are human. Baseball owners and managers treat these guys like property that is owned, and figure that means they can do whatever they want with them. It’s sickening…And also with Scotty and TLR, I’m sickened by the way the whole thing went down. LaRussa acts like a child, going to the media to whine and call out Scott. THEN Scott asks for a trade. That tells me Scott did want to stay in St.Louis. You guys all make it sound like Scotty didn’t want to be here. He did, just not after his feud with Tony went public, and he was called out by him in public.

Im going to have to disagree with you slforre. Like most MLB; NFL; NBA and MLS players Rolen plays the game primarily for himself. And the Cardinals have compensated him well. If you’re given $12 million dollars a year you really shouldnt complain about not being able to get along with your boss. Both him and Tony should have figuried out away to make it work. They didn’t. Boss stays, employee goes.

Rolen is a man. He doesnt need to be cuddled. He’ll go to Blue Jays and be hopefully be happier there for the rest of his career. Honestly I can not expect my employer to keep me around if I under preform for a few years in a row. The days when players should be kept around just because they were part of the team durring the good years went away when players started making more than the Managers.

Also, you can not compare Rolen asking for a trade to Edmonds asking for a trade. Edmonds wanted to leave to a SoCal team where he can play everyday. Rolen wanted to get away from Tony. I’ll miss Rolen almost as much as Edmonds. I loved the way he played the game. But this is not a bad trade. Might be better for both the Cards and Rolen.

From what it sounded like when I was reading M’s articles (and others) that Rolen wanted the trade when La Russa resigned with the Cardinals. M, am I right in determining that or did he go to them after TLR went public? Even though everyone already knew that the feud was very high.

thank you mr. frog. i wish i was a piece of meat. someone here needs a better understanding of the way things work. players and there money grubbing agents are the one ruining the game. owners want to win(well at least the ones that don’t own the cards) and to win they are pushed into paying what the market demands. thus suppan becomes the 40 million dollar man. last everyone slams on larussa, but, from a management standpoint he is not there to find drinking buddys or deliver presents to the players kids on christmas morning. the role of the manager is to manage, in tonys case to win games. now it seems people are forgetting about the fact that when rolen was benched for 1 game he was the one who went public and threw a tantrum like a 5 year old. as a manager i hate it when others question my decisions, because the decision is mine to make, that’s the way it is… end of story. for the amount of money scott, and all players, are paid they should run, hit, catch, be happy,and keep there mouths shut.

What makes you think I don’t understand how things work? What in my post gave you that impression? I know how things work. What I am saying is that it needs to change!! Also, you’re right about one thing. I don’t ever remember Rolen going to the media and “throwing a tantrum like a 5 year old”. But that’s because it didn’t happen. At least not that way. One question for you…Before the Civil War slaves could be forced to do anything their master wanted. Do you think they should have simply accepted that, because that’s the way things work? I know that is an extreme example, but it illustrates my point. Just because that’s how it works doesn’t mean everyone should just accept it. they should take steps to change it.That’s what I want. lso,why is it ok with you guys that our manager continues to make the organization look bad by mouthing off to the media and ******* off multiple players? If I were a baseball player,there is no way in **** I’d play for the Cardinals under LaRussa. He has created the tension in the clubhouse with tifts between himself and Ray King AND with Steve Kline. He has made the organization look bad by shouting unnecessarily at a Post-Dispatch writer, he made the organization look bad last Spring with the DWI incident, and in December when he called out Scotty at the Winter Meetings. Why is all that ok, but it’s not ok for Scotty to play hurt and want to fight thru. Scotty has every attribute you want in a Major Leaguer, and yet we trade him. Why? Not because his production fell off.That’s NOT why we traded him. We trade him, because the manager can’t get along with him. That is ridiculous!

I never recall saying it was ok for TLR to go out and get a DUI or bash Rolen in front of the media. The Post-Dispatch thing I don’t mind because they shouldn’t have printed that article about the Cubs.

But don’t forget, when TLR goes onto the field, he is the same way. He wants to win, that’s all he has ever wanted. In the 2nd game of the 06 NLCS, when he benched Rolen he did it because he thought that Spiezio would be the better guy in there to help the team. And his move worked, Spiezio got a key hit that turned that series around and ultimately brought us to the WS glory.

Also, why is it that TLR gets almost all of the blame from you slf? I understand your views on him and you are allowed to feel that way, but don’t forget it is a 2-way street and Rolen made no attempt to mend the broken fences between the two of them either.

I put the majority of blame on LaRussa, because he is the manager…the team manager. His job is to manage the team in every facet, not just make out lineup Cards and manage the games. His job is to insure that team chemistry is there, not to interfere with team chemistry. I understand it’s a two-way street, and Rolen didn’t swallow his pride either. In my view, though,it’s more the managers place to swallow pride not the player’s. More than anything I think the way this all went down was incredibly wrong. I know that Rolen would still be a Cardinal if LaRussa weren’t the manager, and that bothers me. Again, though, I do see both sides.I just think LaRussa has a larger responsibility to keep the peace than Rolen did in this instance. Also, not only did he make no attempt to keep the peace, but just the opposite he made moves that insured further animosity.

i’m sorry i swore i was done with this conversation, but i have to say this. slf, tommorow i want you to go into work tell the owner of your business that you don’t agree with your manager and that it’s him or you. see what happens. no one player is a slave or a piece of meat. these guys get paid MILLIONS of dollars to play a GAME. a team game that if one part is broken it hurts the quality of the entire team. the bigger man would have said “bench me i can’t play at 100% today please do that for my TEAM MATES”. my point earlier was that tony’s boss does not pay him to change diapers, he gets paid to win, weather everyone likes him or nobody likes him, WIN or lose your job.

manor, I see where you are coming from, but you gotta come up with a better example than me and my job. I work at a Liquor Store and for a college sports video department. That’s nothing like being a pro athlete, so the two are like comparing apples and watermelon. Also Tony gets paid MILLIONS of dollars too. And you’re right. He gets paid to win. Whether that means swallowing his pride or whatever. And also you’re right about one part being broken hurts the entire team. That includes the manager. And about this “bench me.I’m not 100%”. Did you say that when JD Drew was here. Did you respect him for that? I didn’t. I want a guy who goes out there and battles any time he feels like he can. And as for this particular situation, I would have rather had a 75% Scott Rolen than any other option we had at 3rd base last year…with one exception, Scott Spiezio, who was out for most of the second half. So that leaves Rolen as the best option. Even struggling with the bat, I’d rather have his defense than any other option we had.

Also I hope you guys don’t take offense to me. I just vehemently disagree with trash-talking Rolen and acting like Tony was just doing his job. No offense to anyone else’s opinion.

My only problem with putting out an injured Scott Rolen is that his injuries are typically shoulder injuries and one wrong move on the field or at the plate could have been the end of his playing days.

I’m with slf on this one. With great power comes great responsibility. Has anyone ever taken a management course in the last 25 years? All leading management programs focus on managing in flexible, non-authoritarian ways that deal with personal and personnel issues in private so as not to embarrass anyone. LaRussa has a best friend in Detroit named Jim Leyland who NEVER calls out his players in public despite having some very difficult situations to deal with — that clubhouse is never presented as fractured (even if, internally, it is.) Joe Torre, who I believe preceded TLR, managed in NY, in NY!, without publicly calling out a whole raft of fractious players – and when his owner did, Torre invariably worked to smooth the waters. Torre never would have chosen Royce Clayton over Ozzie Smith had be promised to start the player with the better Spring Training – but TLR did and announced it without telling Smith first… at that point, even before the Cardinals started playing American League baseball (w/o the DH, oops), my wife and I already had serious reservations about how this would all turn out. (Has anyone noticed that the American League teams that get to and/or win the world series play National League baseball, only with the DH?)

In terms of “how it is,” please. SLF is right, the players are paid a buncha money to play a game, but are still 1) human and 2) have placed they’d rather play. Rolen wanted to play here more than anywhere else – he’s not Gary Sheffield. TLR drove him out. Again, TLR could have avoided this whole situation by, oh I don’t know, telling Rolen he was going to sit him – just as he regularly failed to tell other players when he changed their status.

“How it is” cuts many ways and one thing about how it is is that Curt Flood and a raft of other indentured servants fought to level the playing field between ownership – who have tons of money and **** massive profits off of the public plate (read Free Lunch by David Cay Johnston of the NYTimes) – and the players.

I’ve been frustrated with free agency and the union over the last thirty years but they’ve never been convicted of collusion. Rolen wanted to be treated like an adult and TLR failed to do that when he failed (again and again) to communicate with Rolen (and his other players – anyone remember the All-Star game and a guy named Pujols?) and then made matters worse by refusing to own up to his error (anyone, again, remember what he had to say about Pujols’ frustration at not playing). Leyland, Torre and the other great managers in pro ball don’t do these things and their teams generally benefit from it — there’s a reason that nutjob in Chicago hasn’t won anything since he managed a bunch of young nutjobs and worked for a neo-fascist who had no respect for Eric Davis risking his body and career for the team.

At this point, I don’t have a problem with the trade – though the question of Glaus’ likely productivity in a post-PED world is interesting – ownership made their choice and they chose to guy who’s responsible for the situation despite the fact that there was no need for it to ever get to this point. LaRussa simply doesn’t seem to understand that there are very few Dave Stewarts in the world…

I can’t believe I’m moving towards favoring a hard salary cap… or at least a tax on teams with salaries above the league average, at 75% of the amount above the average.

just for the record i am a manager. i have taken many courses throughout my days dealing with hard management as well as soft personality project management. from my view (which by the way i have never been a fan of tonys’) tony has had tremendous success at what he does and how he does it, and for every scott rolen out there there are probably 4-5 hundred other guys who think tony is the best manager they ever played for.given that kind of ratio from a personality standpoint i have to believe scott did not do much to help the situation from his end. anyway the point you are not getting here is that there is an order to business. wherever you work the employee is always subject to the desires of ownership and MANAGEMENT, no matter what they might be. don’t forget that it was rolen who laid the line in the sand. that happened before tony ever said a word to anyone. the question to tony about scott was in relation to what scott had already put out there. scott said it’s him or me, and learned the hard way that scott rolen is not the key to a successful TEAM, and that employees do not tell management how things are to be. p.s. i loved watching scott play the corner, and i think in my day, outside of smitty, he was the most exciting third basemen i’ve ever wittnessed. but for him to push someone with a cool head to his limit tells me that he must have acted rather childish. p.s.s. it’s time to end this, we’ve eaten enough of matts blogg, sorry.

I think we all understand your point about management/employee situations,but I think managing a baseball team is significantly different than running a factory or a Wal-Mart or a bank or anything else really. Sure there are similarities, but also major differences. I certainly think you can’t manage a team of athletes the way you manage a team of telemarketers or mechanics or stock brokers.
I’ll leave it at that, except to say I think Dude is ok with us discussing this stuff as long as we keep it civil, which we did.

Well, LaRussa got his way. Rolen is gone. In my opinion, the wrong guy left.

I hope Rolen bats .400 for Toronto and hite 3o HR.

LaRussa is a phony.

let us not forget that Rolen
had problems with management in Philadelphia.

Yes, he is a great player,

especially on defense. But he

has not performed well for several years.

If I understand right, he hid an unjury from his manager

because he wanted to play or thought he could do the job.

His actions hurt the team, and baseball is still a team sport.

The issues between Scott and

Tony were not going to go away.

So management traded Scot.

Change of scenery will do everybody good.

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