Rolen vs Frazier and Other Reds Musings


Scott Rolen or Todd Frazier?

Todd Frazier has made the most of his opportunity to play regularly during Scott Rolen‘s most recent stint on the DL.  His offensive production has been impressive.  He’s hitting .275 with an OPS of .924 in 38 games this season.

He plays hard and produces in the clutch.  His walk-off homerun beat the Braves on May 23rd.   He put enough wood on Justin Verlander‘s 101 mph fastball Saturday, to poke a two RBI single into right-center field.  Frazier has driven in more runs, per plate appearance, than any Red this season.   If that wasn’t enough to earn an “S” for his chest, Frazier dislodged a piece of meat from a man’s windpipe in Pittsburgh by administering the Heimlich maneuver.   ”I don’t know what it was — it was a monster piece,” Frazier said.

Frazier has been a monster piece of the Red’s success since Rolen went on the DL.  The Reds are 14-10 when Frazier has started at 3B since May 11.  “T-Fraze” has become a fan favorite, as a result.

Scott Rolen has been taking batting practice on the field which means he is getting very close to returning to the field.  Whether he will go to Louisville or Dayton for a rehab assignment, however, remains to be seen.  “We have to see and have to discuss it with him,” Dusty Baker said on Sunday. “We want him to come back ready and not come back and have to get ready.”

Will Rolen return to his starting role upon his return?  I think he will.  Why?

While Frazier has proven that he’s a legitimate offensive threat, he is a sub-par defensive third baseman.  Even at age 37, Rolen is still a superior defender.  As a result, Rolen will get another opportunity to find his stroke.  Although Rolen will likely get the majority of the starts,  Frazier will still see plenty of action.

Heisey or Stubbs?

Since Drew Stubbs injured his oblique on June 5th, Chris Heisey has been the beneficiary of five starts in centerfield.  In those starts, Heisey is 5-22 with a pair of runs scored.  His defense, in centerfield,  has been solid.  Stubbs, however, has superior range and arm strength.

The gap between Stubbs and Heisey, defensively, is narrower than the gap between Frazier and Rolen.

When Stubbs is healthy again, he will resume his starting role in centerfield.  He is striking out in 26% of his plate appearances this season.  This is definitely a positive step in the right direction.  He struck out in 30% of his plate appearances last season.

Trade Deadline Approaching

With approximately forty-five days before MLB’s non-waiver trade deadline, it will be interesting to see whether the Reds make any significant changes.  They could use a legitimate cleanup hitter like Carlos Quentin.  They could use a legitimate lead off hitter like Denard Span or David DeJesus.  They could also use some lefthanded pop off of the bench. 

Chase Headley is a player that intrigues me for his ability to get on base and hit from both sides of the plate.  Jed Lowrie is another player that switch hits, can play all over the infield, and would provide an offensive boost.  If Rolen cannot stay healthy, either of these players would be preferable to an aging Kevin Youkilis.

Following the Mat Latos trade, the Reds do not have as much trade currency in the minor leagues.  With Phillips and Cozart firmly entrenched, would they consider moving Henry Rodriguez or Didi Gregorius?  Would they move Leake, Bailey, Stubbs, Heisey, Janish, or Frazier?  Perhaps the most valuable chip is Ryan Hanigan.  A number of clubs would have an interest in Hanigan, who has quietly become one of the best defensive catchers in the National League.  The Reds would have to get a substantial haul, in my opinion, to trade Hanigan.

With Bob Castellini and Walt Jocketty, however, anything is possible.

Chapman’s Role

With Homer Bailey and Mike Leake pitching well, it looks increasingly unlikely that Aroldis Chapman will start anytime soon.  With the exception of his last two outings, he has been nearly perfect out of the bullpen.

For argument’s sake, let’s assume the Reds win the Central Division.  Would you rather see Chapman in the playoff starting rotation or continue as the closer?

In Other Reds News:

Fangraph’s Wendy Thurm writes about the Reds struggling offense.  Click here to read.

Bill Bray is on a rehab assignment in Dayton.  Click here to read.

Buster Olney discusses Aroldis Chapman‘s dominance as the Reds closer.  Click here to watch Buster.

Reds fan posts YouTube video of Jose Valverde spitting in glove.  Click here to read.

The Reds leveraged reliable sources for first round pick, Nick Travieso.  Click here to read.

Reds minor league pitcher, Tony Cingrani, struck out nine in six shutout innings on Friday.  Click here to read.

Doug Gray updates the Reds Top Ten prospect list.  Click here to read.

Paul Daugherty on the Reds fans who love to hate Dusty.  Click here to read.

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Tags: Baseball Bob Castellini Carlos Quentin Chase Headley Chris Heisey Cincinnati Reds Didi Gregorius Drew Stubbs Henry Rodriguez Justin Verlander MLB MLB Trade Rumors Reds Trade Rumors Ryan Hanigan Scott Rolen Todd Frazier Trade Rumors Walt Jocketty

  • beeker

    I agree with your hunch that Rolen will take over as the starter whenever he is ready. I don’t see it as the right move though. Frazier’s defense isn’t going to improve from the bench, and Rolen’s offense is not likely to improve at all. But we will be forced to watch 3-4 weeks with Rolen being as automatic of an out as Ludwick.
    Span is a better option than Quentin… cheaper and under the Reds’ control through 2014. Heisey and a decent (not top) AA prospect would be nice swap. It doesn’t get Phillips back to leading off, but a cleanup guy is going to cost a whole lot of money.
    How much longer do you think Jocketty will ride the Ludwick train before giving him the breakup speech? If he were to ever catch fire, he’d be the quickest and cheapest solution for the cleanup spot, because he has the power. But the power is useless at .203. Walt shouldn’t axe him yet, but he has to be thinking about another direction if his average doesn’t start improving soon.

  • jsuer1971

    I don’t see Walt eating Ludwicks contract. Let’s hope he gets better.

  • jsuer1971

    Twins will want pitching for Span.