The Reds and Blue Jays have had discussions within the past several days about a trade that would send Toronto third baseman Scott Rolen to Cincinnati, major league sources told FOXSports.com on Saturday.
As of late Saturday night, it wasn’t clear which players would go to Toronto in the proposed deal, although third baseman Edwin Encarnacion was expected to be among them. One source cautioned that the rigidity of the Reds’ payroll could stifle the deal.
Rolen won a World Series while playing for current Reds general manager Walt Jocketty in St. Louis. Cincinnati officials have been looking for a right-handed hitter such as Rolen for much of the season.
Rolen is having his best year since 2006, batting .319 with seven home runs and 37 RBIs.
The Reds, who have lost five straight games, are widely expected to sell at the deadline. But acquiring Rolen would give the team a head start on planning for 2010, since he is already under contract for next year at $11 million.
Unless owner Bob Castellini plans to expand the team’s payroll, acquiring Rolen may necessitate that Jocketty move other contracts off the books. One source with knowledge of the team’s plans said the Reds have already made right-handers Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo available on the trade market.
Harang will earn $12.5 million next year, Arroyo $11 million. The Reds hold club options on both pitchers for 2011.
The 2010 salary match between Rolen and Arroyo may come into play, since a trade of those players would be dollar-neutral. And the Blue Jays would need an experienced right-hander like Arroyo … if they end up trading Roy Halladay.
“Everything,” said one source briefed on the Rolen talks, “hinges on Halladay this year.”