Could Scott Rolen be a role player in St. Louis?

Posted by Scott Wuerz on January 12, 2013 

Former Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen is said to still be kicking around the idea of playing in 2013. 

But Reds GM Walt Jocketty and manager Dusty Baker have been quoted as saying that the team has essentially moved on from the idea of Rolen coming back to Cincinnati. So, I have to wonder if the possibility of a Rolen reunion with St. Louis is something that could be in the best interest of both the player and the Redbirds.

The Cardinals don't have a lot of money to spend. And they certainly don't have a starting job to spare. But Rolen might make one heckuva pinch hitter and he would be a capable fielder at the infield corners when David Freese or Allen Craig could use a break. He could also play first base if Craig has to fill in for right fielder Carlos Beltran either on a spot basis or if the brittle Beltran goes on the disabled list with an injury -- or at third if David Freese's ankles don't hold up.

I wonder if Rolen would be willing to be a reserve. He's only averaged about 300 at bats over the last two seasons because of health issues. So it would be smart for him to pick his spots instead of trying to be a starter at 38 years old. 

The Cardinals would be a good landing spot because Rolen has always said he prefers to play in the Midwest. Plus his arch rival Tony La Russa is long gone from the St. Louis dugout. A .245 hitter the last couple of years, Rolen might benefit at the plate from playing less in the field. Throwing across the diamond couldn't possibly do anything but irritate his bad shoulder. Extra rest might do wonders for his bat speed.

The Cardinals lost a metric ton of veteran leadership when Lance Berkman walked out the door at the end of 2012. Even if Rolen is a .250 hitter who takes eight at bats a week, it might be worth it to have one of the best corner glove men in the history of the game sitting next to Freese and Craig on plane rides. 

 

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