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.