Dodgers confirm interest in free agent Scott Rolen

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ESPN’s Buster Olney reported two weeks ago that the Dodgers were viewing free agent Scott Rolen as a “possible target” in their quest for third base depth. And now the club has confirmed that interest.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register on Saturday that he has spoken directly to Rolen, who is still deciding whether he wants to continue his playing career.

“Ned (Colletti, Dodgers GM) mentioned him to me and I talked to him,” Mattingly said Saturday during the organization’s annual Fan Fest event at Dodger Stadium. “I can’t really speak for him (Rolen). We just talked about what we were thinking, what we were looking at. I don’t think anybody thought of him being available until a few weeks ago. I just talked to him about the possibility if you don’t go back there … if it ends up being he doesn’t go back to Cincinnati, then that’s when we’d talk.”

The Reds have an excellent young third baseman in Todd Frazier and probably can’t offer Rolen much playing time in 2013. The Dodgers, meanwhile, are planning to start Luis Cruz at the hot corner.

 

Robinson Cano hit his 300th home run last night

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Last night Robinson Cano hit a solo homer in the ninth inning of the Mariners’ loss to the Texas Rangers. It was his 22nd on the season. Though it was insignificant to the outcome of that game, it was significant to Cano: it was his 300th career homer.

While we’ve become accustomed to not caring much about home run milestones south of, say, 500, 300 homers for Cano is a big deal, as he’s only the third second baseman to cross that threshold in baseball history. The other two: Jeff Kent, at 377, and Rogers Hornsby at 301.

Cano, who turns 35 next month, has a career line of .305/.354/.495 and 1,179 RBI, 512 doubles and 33 triples to go with those bombs. He’s in his 13th big league season and still has six more years left on his deal with the Mariners. He’s averaged 24 homers a year since coming to the Mariners. While he’ll obviously trail off at some point — and while great second baseman’s have this weird habit of just suddenly falling off a cliff — it’s highly likely that he’ll finish his career as the all-time home run leader among second baseman. If he remains healthy he should also get over 3,000 hits in his career.

Cooperstown, here he comes.

Reds sign catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year deal

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Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that the Reds have signed catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year contract extension. The terms: $16 million total, with a $7.5 million club option for the 2022 season that has a $500,000 buyout. He also received a $1.75 million signing bonus.

The deal buys out all three of his arbitration years — he was going to be eligible for the first time this offseason — and the first year of his potential free agency. The club option buys a second. Barnhart made $575,000 this season.

Barnhart, 26, is finishing his second season as the Reds primary catcher. This year he’s hitting .272/.349/.399 with six homers and 42 RBI in 113 games. For his career he has a line of .257/.328/.366 in 330 major league games. His real value is defensive, however. He leads the National League in caught stealing percentage and number of base stealers caught (31-for-70, 44%) and leads all players at any position in the league in defensive WAR according to Baseball-Reference.com.