Scott Rolen has played well – he’s one of the reasons Toronto was in contention for much of the first half of the season. However, he told management that he wanted to get closer to home (Evansville, IN) to address some personal issues and the Jays cooperated.
Cincinnati Gets: A veteran third baseman, still decent enough in the field and looking healthier than in recent seasons. Scott Rolen is a step up over Edwin Encarnacion, who has been inconsistent at best.
Toronto Gets: Well – a third baseman who should be better than he’s played in 2009 so far… Encarnacion has been slightly below average in terms of range, but when he’s hitting for power that’s okay. He’s not unwilling to take a walk, though he goes through fits of strikeouts. If the change of scenery helps, the Jays might do okay. It’s the prospects that might make this work long term.
Josh Roenicke is a reliever with talent – good strikeout rates, good command of the strike zone, and this second turn in the majors has been successful. The son of former Angel and Oriole outfielder Gary Roenicke, Josh could be a potential late inning reliever in a year or two. He’s certainly going to be an upgrade to the bullpen by 2010.
Zach Stewart is the long term prospect, a third rounder out of Texas Tech in 2008, Stewart has been raced up the minor league ladder because of his command and stuff – he’s a whale of a prospect. Used in both relief and as a starter with success, he could be the surprise rookie of the year candidate in 2011.
Winner? I don’t see Rolen as a long term option anymore, though he has played well this year (having passed his 34th birthday). In fact, he might get traded again next year. Rolen might have two years left, and he might not. Encarnacion isn’t awful, and if the two pitchers step up this could be a big win for Toronto.