Doctors sign off on Rolen-Glaus trade
Jays acquire Gold Glove winner in exchange of third basemen
TORONTO -- So much for standing pat. The quiet offseason the Blue Jays were expected to have has certainly taken a different turn. On Monday, the Blue Jays completed an overhaul of the left side of their infield.
After receiving the respective nods from their team doctors, the Jays and Cardinals finalized a trade that sent third baseman Troy Glaus to St. Louis in exchange for Scott Rolen. The latter will assume third-base duties for the Blue Jays and work alongside Toronto's other major offseason acquisition, shortstop David Eckstein.
Rolen and Eckstein were teammates in St. Louis for the past three seasons and aided the Cardinals' run to the World Series title in 2006. A lot can change over the course of two years, especially when there's surgery involved, but Toronto is banking on a clean bill of health from Rolen, among others, to help the Jays hopefully reach similar heights.
In Rolen, the Jays receive a sound defender to man the hot corner and a potentially potent bat to add to the lineup. Acquiring the 32-year-old third baseman doesn't come without risk, though. Last season, Rolen had his season come to a premature end in September, when he opted to have a third procedure performed on his ailing left shoulder.
The injury issues, which date back to the 2005 season, contributed to decreased power production from Rolen, who belted just eight homers in 112 games last year for the Cards. In '06, Rolen hit .296 with 22 homers and 99 RBIs in 142 contests -- one season after undergoing the two operations on the same shoulder.
In order to complete the trade, Rolen passed a physical examination by Toronto's medical staff, indicating that he should be healthy going forward. Health was also an issue for the 31-year-old Glaus, whose persistent leg and foot issues over the past two seasons with the Jays may have been caused in part by playing on artificial turf in Toronto.
Both Rolen and Glaus waived the no-trade clauses included in their contracts to complete the deal. In December 2005, Glaus waived the clause in order to come to Toronto, which acquired him in a trade with the Diamondbacks. Glaus is scheduled to make $12.75 million in 2008, and his contract includes a player option worth $11.25 million for the '09 season.
Rolen has three years remaining on the eight-year, $90 million deal he struck with St Louis prior to the 2002 season, and he is owed $12 million in each of the next three campaigns. As part of the trade, St. Louis is reportedly sending $4 million to cover a bonus Rolen has coming in 2010, and Toronto is including $1.8 million.
Rolen was desperate to leave the Cardinals due to an ongoing feud with St. Louis manager Tony La Russa. The third baseman went as far as requesting a trade after the La Russa re-signed with the Cardinals in October. Needless to say, a change of scenery accomodate Rolen's desire to leave St. Louis, which acquired him from the Phillies in 2002.
Left foot and ankle woes limited Glaus to just 115 games in '07, when he hit .262 with 20 homers and 62 RBIs. He missed 14 games in April while on the disabled list and was in and out of the lineup for the rest of the season. Glaus suffered from plantar fasciitis and eventually had a nerve decompression procedure performed on his ailing foot in September.
Glaus' issues, which included allegations of steroid use in a SI.com report in September, came one year after he launched 38 homers and drove in 104 RBIs in 153 games for the Jays in 2006. Glaus, who was acquired by Toronto in a trade with Arizona prior to that season, was also named in the Mitchell Report on steroid use in baseball, but the third baseman had already been cleared by Major League Baseball due to insufficient evidence.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.