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Report: Scott Rolen is leaning towards retirement

Oct 11, 2012, 6:34 PM EDT

Scott Rolen Getty Images

Eight-time Gold Glove winner Scott Rolen had a nice little two-month resurgence for the Reds this summer, but he couldn’t keep it going in September and October. Now, with his contract up and free agency looming, he’s leaning towards retirement at age 37, USATODAY’s Bob Nightengale reports.

Rolen has been plagued by shoulder problems for years, and he again spent time on the DL this season when the soreness became too much to handle. A perennial All-Star in his prime, he played in 140 games just once and 120 games three times after turning 30. He hit .245/.318/.398 with eight homers and 39 RBI in 294 at-bats this season.

Because Rolen added so little to his stats after his first nine full seasons, he probably won’t sniff Cooperstown. It doesn’t help that he wasn’t properly rated when he was at his best. Even though he had three 30-homer and five-100 RBI seasons while being widely recognized as the game’s premier defensive third baseman, he just once received significant MVP consideration, that coming when he finished fourth in 2004.

Still, it’s hard to look at Rolen’s body of work and not conclude that he was one of the 12 or 15 best third basemen in major league history. Maybe that’s still not Hall of Fame-worthy, but he had a terrific career. It’s too bad it had to conclude with an NLDS-ending strikeout today.

  1. Carl Hancock - Oct 11, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    I bet the Yankees are wishing Alex Rodriguez would lean towards retirement too.

  2. timpaz - Oct 11, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    Been washed up for 3 years

  3. xmatt0926x - Oct 11, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    See? There is something for Red’s fans to cheer about tonight! In all seriousness, he’s been toast for a while but after the first 5 or 6 years of his career it was easy to see him ending up as a top 2 or 3 3rd baseman of all time. Injuries took it all away and Tony LaRussa and Larry Bowa might tell you there’s some karma in that. (I believe he has since mended fences with both of them).

  4. atom55 - Oct 11, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    I still remember it very clearly. Hee-Sop Choi bumped into him running into third base early in 2005 and Rolen’s shoulder was screwed ever since.

    He showed flashed of his old self here and there, but he couldn’t stay healthy and it zapped his power.

    Using Fangraphs WAR, he ranks 11th all time at third base (though the two in front of him are Harmon Killebrew, who spent just over a third of his career at 3rd and Paul Molitor who spent about half).

    Injuries and decline and all, he still had a *fantastic* career.

  5. jnewm777 - Oct 11, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    I love Scott’s professionalism, but it’s time. Since coming over from Toronto he helped teach the younger players how to play the game the right way and to always be prepared. Unfortunately, he only had half of a productive season with the Reds in the first half of 2010 and since then it’s just been a steady decline. He gave it his best and didn’t cheat the game.

  6. maynardstool - Oct 11, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    No surprise here. Matthew writes yet another “DUH” post. You really think this is “news”. Way to go out on a limb on that one. I’m pretty everyone has known that since April.

  7. whodeytn - Oct 11, 2012 at 8:55 PM

    Frazier time!

  8. whodeytn - Oct 11, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    No surprise here. Matthew writes yet another “DUH” post. You really think this is “news”. Way to go out on a limb on that one. I’m pretty everyone has known that since April.

    How dare he report the news!

  9. maynardstool - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    Nice of Matthews mother to chime in! How sweet.

  10. crankyfrankie - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:31 PM

    Remember him coming up with the Phillies. His biggest mistake was not being Mike Schmidt. Hope he enjoys his retirement.

  11. youngwomanscreek - Oct 12, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    Excellent player overall. A complete shame about the shoulder injuries and then issues that lingered, but he should walk away happy.

  12. chumthumper - Oct 12, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    I’m stuck in time and remember him for his time with the Cardinals, particulary the 2004 season. He’s had an exceptional career.

  13. materialman80 - Oct 12, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    Scott had some great years in St. Louis. I wish him the best.

  14. gostlcards5 - Oct 12, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    I have always LOVED watching this guy play. I took my stepdaughter to her first game (just she and I) when she was about 7 years old. Rolen made 2 plays in the field that game that were outstanding, and she was amazed. In my experience (watching a lot of Cardinals games, really practically all of them in 2004, 2005, 2006 after I got FSN MW), he made at least one defensive play every game that made it worth the price of admission. Defensively, one of the best ever, with a cannon for an arm.

    Best of luck, Scott, in whatever you choose to do.

  15. stumblebum76 - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:09 AM

    If Rolen does retire, the Reds should IMMEDIATELY sign him to a contract as a coach. His positive influence on the young Reds players was amazing. And, he has long been an astute student of the game. He would be an excellent coach.

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