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.
MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.
Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.
Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.
Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.
The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.