The Los Angeles Dodgers have gone spending crazy recently, and had been linked to free agent third baseman Scott Rolen, who has been pondering a return to baseball or to retire. Dodgers GM Ned Coletti, however, doesn’t believe Rolen will come out to Los Angeles and thinks that the 38-year old will end up playing one more year somewhere else.
The Dodgers currently have Luis Cruz penciled in as the starting third baseman, but whether or not he can produce is another question. There is also Jerry Hairston, Jr. and Juan Uribe. Hairston recently had hip surgery, however, and his status is a question mark at the moment. Uribe has struggled since coming over to the Dodgers after seeing some success with the San Francisco Giants.
Cruz, 29 in February, was a bit of a surprise last season, hitting .297/.322/.431 after spending most of his career in the minors. He had only appeared in 56 games with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers across three seasons prior to joining the Dodgers and hadn’t appeared in a Major League game since 2010 when he got into seven games for the Brewers. Despite last season’s success, Cruz is very much a question mark heading into the season.
Adding Rolen would at least give the Dodgers a little insurance in case Cruz falters, Hairston isn’t ready to play third, or Uribe continues to disappoint. However, even if Rolen decides to sign with the Dodgers, he won’t be given the starting job. Instead, he will be a backup third baseman and first baseman, spelling Adrian Gonzalez from time to time and acting as insurance for Cruz.
Right now, it looks like Rolen might be deciding between returning to the Cincinnati Reds, where he has played the last four seasons, or retirement. That means the Dodgers might not be done looking for an insurance policy, and might have to use one of their extra starting pitchers to get it.