Jays Make Puzzling Move, Send Glaus to St. Louis for Rolen

It appears Troy Glaus will be donning red again in 2008, this time for the St. Louis Cardinals. 

The Blue Jays have consumated a deal that will net them Cardinals 3B Scott Rolen in exchange for slugger and fellow 3B Troy Glaus.  This would have been a great trade for Toronto a few years ago, but seeing as Rolen is a year Glaus’s senior at 32 and makes a substantial amount of money for another three years ($12 million annually), I can’t see the logic in taking the risky end of this trade.

Rolen is coming off a miserable season in which he put up a measly .729 OPS, preceded by .706 and .887 marks in 2005 and 2006, respectively.  Essentially, since his peak year in 2004, Rolen has been a pretty good player–when healthy.

The problem is he hasn’t been able to stay healthy. 

The Blue Jays must be expecting a rash of salubrity over the next three seasons, seeing as they’re willing to risk quite a large portion of their budget on the slick-fielding Rolen; I’m not as easily convinced.  Already exiting his natural prime at 32-years-old, Rolen’s injury history makes him seem like a guy who could quickly enter his full fledged decline.

Glaus also missed significant time in 2007, playing in only 115 games compared to Rolen’s 112, but managed to post an .839 OPS.  His two previous seasons Glaus posted .885 and .869 marks, playing in 149 and 153 games.  Seeing as the former Blue Jay is the younger of the two hot corner semi-stars being dealt, Glaus would appear the one most likely to produce in 2008 and beyond.

The money to be exchanged in this deal has yet to be reported, and will have some effect on my analysis, but unless the total tops $5 million it won’t entirely change my winner: St. Louis.

The Cardinals rid themselves of a clubhouse cancer (not to say Rolen is a bad guy, but the La Russa-Rolen dynamic had reached a breaking point) and a guy with durability issues in exchange for a power bat with a better contract and an extra year of youth, whereas Toronto backed itself into a corner (using the “hot corner” pun was an option here, but I managed to resist).  Rolen’s edge defensively could prove to be the difference if both players manage to remain healthy and effective over the duration of their deals, but the easy money on value over the life of their contracts remains on Glaus. 

It looks like this could be Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi’s signature move–one way or the other.  The early guess here is J.P will regret penning his name to the page in this case.

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