Rolen, Reds agree to 2-year extension

Scott Rolen agreed Saturday to a two-year contract extension with

the Cincinnati Reds that guarantees him an additional $13 million

while converting almost half of his 2010 salary to a deferred

signing bonus.

The deal, which runs through 2012, clears a little bit of

payroll room for the Reds and shows how much they value the

34-year-old third baseman as a clubhouse leader. Rolen missed time

with a concussion last season, batting .305 with 11 homers and 67

RBIs in 128 games with Toronto and Cincinnati.

A seven-time Gold Glove winner and five-time All-Star, Rolen

had been due to make $11 million next season, the final one in an

eight-year, $90 million deal he got from St. Louis. Instead, he

gets a $5 million signing bonus that will be paid over the next

three years, a $6 million salary next season and $6.5 million in

each of the following two seasons.

Cincinnati is expected to trim its opening-day payroll from

the $71 million it had last season. The Reds drew 1.7 million fans

during their ninth straight losing season, their smallest

attendance since 1986.

When they got Rolen in a trade with Toronto in July, they set

up a logjam at the top of the payroll. Four players would account

for nearly two-thirds of the payroll next year: Rolen, starter

Aaron Harang ($12.5 million), starter Bronson Arroyo ($11 million)

and closer Francisco Cordero ($12 million).

The Reds are looking to trade at least one of the pitchers,

and have had talks with the Los Angeles Dodgers about Harang, who

is coming off two straight disappointing seasons. Arroyo also could

be available.

“Scott’s signing is an indication of his feelings toward the

club and the direction we’re taking,” Jocketty said in a statement.

“He wants to stay here, and hopefully he can end his career as a

Red.”

Rolen grew up in Evansville, Ind. – less than a four-hour

drive away – and attended Reds games as a youth. He was excited by

the trade in July, but a concussion diminished his playing time

during his first two months in Cincinnati.

Rolen was hit in the head by a pitch from Colorado’s Jason

Marquis on Aug. 2, giving him headaches and limiting his

availability. He went on the disabled list Aug. 11. He appeared in

40 games for Cincinnati, batting .270 with three homers and 24

RBIs.

The 1997 NL Rookie of the Year, Rolen is a .284 career hitter

with 283 homers and 1,129 RBIs in 14 major league seasons with

Philadelphia, St. Louis, Toronto and Cincinnati.