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MLB Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds: Third Base is Todd Frazier’s for the Taking

Mark J. Rebilas-USATODAY Sports

It was announced on Tuesday that Scott Rolen declined an invitation to spring training by the Cincinnati Reds, even though he is not expected to announce his retirement.

So while Reds’ fans are sad to see him go, many have accepted the fact that it was his time to do go.

The 37-year old third baseman has had a remarkable career in every since of the word. But his inability to stay healthy and stay on the field was the ultimate concern not only for the Reds, but for Rolen himself.

In just 92 games played, Rolen batted .245 (second-lowest of his career), with eight home runs and 39 RBIs. Now, some may say that those are pretty good numbers, and they would be correct–if Rolen was a rookie. But that was Rolen’s 17th season, and it was a struggle to watch him at the plate knowing he was battling a shoulder problem he has had for most of his career.

So with Rolen not returning to the hot corner as a Red in the 2013 campaign, the time for Todd Frazier is now.

Frazier, who finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting, stepped on to the scene last season and took the fans’ hearts by storm. He played in 128 games last season and hit .273 with 19 home runs and 67 RBIs–all while playing multiple positions throughout the season.

The third base spot is Frazier’s position by trade and with Rolen not returning, one can assume that it’s Frazier’s spot for the taking. He proved last season that he can play third base at the MLB level and can hit the pitching as well–something many former Reds’ third baseman struggled to do.

However, if Frazier were to struggle in his second full season as a Red, it could spell trouble at the third base position again, as only Jason Donald is the backup third baseman/utility player. That said, his performance in 2012 should be reason enough to stay positive in 2013.

Follow Brad Stiene on Twitter @bs_rant1