Last week Scott Rolen’s agent said his client needed more time to decide if he wants to come back. He’s apparently decided. From Danny Knobler:
Rolen has now suggested to the Reds that he might want to go to spring training and give it another try, according to sources, and the Reds would be more than happy to give him a chance. The Reds believe he can help, on the field and especially in the clubhouse, where they value his leadership.
It would have to be a bench role, right? Because Rolen has cratered over the past two years, both in terms of his performance and his durability, hitting .244/.301/.397 in 157 games. Meanwhile, Todd Frazier came in third in the Rookie of the Year voting with a .273/.331/.498, 19-home run year. By all rights, Frazier should be the starting third baseman.
Another problem: Rolen has never played a position other than third, so his usefulness off the bench would be limited.
If Rolen comes to camp and struggles, we’ll get to see how much leadership is really worth.
I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.
Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.
This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.
Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.