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passing glaus --- UPDATE: both players pass physicals

Update [2008-1-14 14:24:32 by lboros]: both rolen and glaus have passed their physicals. [/update]

i'd like briefly to note the passing of marty hendin, a member of the cards' promotional team for 30-plus years. his parents were my father's patients, and marty showed his appreciation through various acts of generosity to our baseball-loving family --- every year we'd get signed player photos and surplus swag from giveaway promotions. one night when i was 10 or 11 years old, he invited my dad, my brothers, and i up to the press box during a game. we got to peek over buck and shannon's shoulders while they spun the play-by-play; we shook hands with stan musial, still hale and looking as if he could hit .325; we crowded into the organ booth with ernie hays, who engaged in lively banter with us between innings while simultaneously tickling the keys for the crowd (and not missing a note); and we received copies of that day's briefs for the media, about half a dozen legal-sized pages of stat-filled notes. in that pre-computerized era, when fans almost never had access to any stat beyond basic avg / hr / rbi, these sheets of paper were packed with revelations and delights --- items on the order of "lou brock is batting .323 in his home games this year" and "lynn mcglothen hasn't yielded a home run to a right-handed hitter all season" and "al hrabosky has retired the first batter he faced in 29 of 30 appearances." those stapled sheets are still in a drawer in my old bedroom, i'm pretty sure.

derrick goold has nice remembrances of marty at his post today at Bird Land. condolences to the hendin family.

i don't have a whole lot to add to my snap evaluation of the rolen-glaus trade, nor to the more in-depth analysis that houston cardinal presented yesterday. i did get a little input as to why the jays would trade for an older player with a longer contract. here's how it was explained to me. glaus's player option left toronto in a no-win position. if he came back healthy in 2008 and played well, the jays would lose him --- glaus would decline the option and get a better deal on the free agent market. but if his injuries persisted and he played poorly, then the jays would be stuck with him --- he'd exercise the option rather than hazard the free-agent market. so their best-case scenario was one good year of troy glaus. in rolen, they have a much better best-case scenario --- 3 good years if he comes back reasonably healthy --- and if he stinks they're not that much worse off --- they're stuck with him for one season longer than they would've been stuck with glaus. this is why the cards insisted that glaus exercise his option as a part of the deal --- they didn't want to be in the same position the jays were in.

in short, the jays gave up a little youth and payroll flexibility in exchange for greater roster control; the cards acquired a little youth and payroll flexibility (and above all clubhouse peace) without sacrificing roster control. i don't see the downside for the cardinals. that doesn't mean the trade is sure to work out --- the players' health will determine that --- but the decision-making passes muster w/ me.

i sampled the reaction from within the jays blogosphere to see how this is playing north of the border. we begin with john brittain, who writes regularly for the Hardball Times and wasn't happy on hearing the news:

My first reaction is to flinch. I realize that [Rolen] has been dealing with shoulder injuries but I cannot help but wonder if it's time to stick a fork in him. Vernon Wells played with a bum shoulder last season and posted an OPS+ of 85 while Rolen weighed in at 89; however Wells put up his numbers against teams like the Yankees and Red Sox while Rolen worked in a division where 85 wins was tops.

Bottom line, it'll likely improve the defense but defense wasn't the problem in 2007. If J.P. Ricciardi wants to deal with the Cards, couldn't he at least try to land Pujols?

by sunday, brittain had made peace with the deal:
After blog surfing on the Scott Rolen/Troy Glaus trade, I came across some thoughts that do not leave me with that greasy, heavy feeling in my intestines. Some plusses from the deal include that it makes 'high-for-a-Blue Jay shortstop OBP' David Eckstein a better defender since Rolen covers more real estate. . . . Since the Jays will be going with a rotation where as many as three of the starters are entering their sophomore seasons on the starting staff, improving an already top shelf defensive team is a definite plus. As long as Rolen can deliver around his career norms in OBP, it should be O.K.
the profane but always-entertaining mokes at Drunk Jays Fans were grateful for a juicy subject to sink their fangs into. initial reaction:
With Lower Case X playing shortstop, the Jays now have the left side of an infield that won a World Series. Unfortunately, that was two years ago.

A best case scenario has a healthy Rolen making up for Eckstein's lack of defensive range and adding his higher OBP and speed to a lineup that struggled last season. A worst case scenario has me thinking about a John McDonald and Marco Scutaro platoon and wondering how Curtis Thigpen would transition to third base. . . . .

This move would seem to fall in line with the Eckstein addition, in that Rolen is a gritty player. He's more in the line of guys that get dirty and play hard visibly. I asked this question after the Jays new shortstop is signed and I'll ask it again. Is J.P. actually listening to those guys who phone into Wilner's radio show saying that the Jays need more heart?

a more sober (by DJF standards) assessment came forth yesterday:
I'm kind of pussing out on this, but I'm going to have to say that the deal looks a whole lot like a win-win situation. Glaus gets a nicer playing surface and hopefully better health. The Cards get rid of a problem while picking up a scary bat. Rolen gets the fuck away from Tony LaRussa. And the Jays get better defense, a little more basepath speed, and a roster shakeup that should tell fans and players alike that the front office is not really as complacent as they've let on.
All Your Base Are Belong to Rios says good riddance to glaus:
I suspected late last year that the Jays were desparate to unload Glaus, but didn't think there'd be any market at all for him. With the public fighting between LaRussa and Rolen, all of a sudden the Cards were a team that was desparate for a change at the position, and the Jays were happy to oblige, ridding the team of their own corner infielder that they obviously grew tired of.
and the Mockingbird thinks the trade is pretty much even-steven --- and has some nice things to say about glaus's glove:
Despite all the reports gushing over Rolen's defense and his closet full of Gold Gloves (Rotoworld goes so far as to say "Cardinals pitchers would all see increases in their ERAs with the switch from Rolen to Glaus."), Glaus when healthy is only slightly behind him- he's an above-average third baseman and probably one of the most underrated fielders in the league.

Unfortunately when we try to look at the defensive measurements other than fielding percentage for last season, there's a problem. The two different companies who sit in the stands and mark where every hit goes don't agree with each other about how well he fielded last year. One says Glaus was very good and the other says he was terrible. But we can go back a year and see that Glaus is still up there with the best in the league. Anyway, this is a minor upgrade --- but it doesn't count as extra enticing just because the Jays already have one of the best defenses in the league.

stay tuned for some site housekeeping tomorrow.