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Scot Rolen Trade Lines Tuesday July 8th, 2008

Posted by Sean in Clearwater Threshers, Detroit Tigers, Phillies, Placido Polanco, Reading Phillies, Scot Rolen, St. Louis Cardinals, Toronto Blue Jays, Trade Lines.
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This is the second edition of a series of posts called “Trade Lines.” For the first edition (and what they are all about, go here).

With the Cardinals coming to town today, I decided to do the trade lines from the last major deal we made with the St. Louis Cardinals, which was shipping out disgruntled third baseman Scot Rolen and nobody pitcher Doug Nickle for infielder Placido Polanco, and pitchers Mike Timlin and Bud Smith. Rolen first came up with the club at the tail end of the 1996 season, and won the Rookie of the Year award for the National League the next year (his first full year). He lasted in Philadelphia until July of 2002, when he was shipped out.

Doug Nickle was somewhat of a journeyman throughout his career. The Phils got him from the Angels in the ’98 offseason for outfielder Greg Jefferies. He did not last long at all for the Cards, because the San Diego Padres claimed him off of waivers in August of 2002. After the Padres, he has pitched for the Angels (again), White Sox and Dodgers AAA teams. He has not appeared in the majors since 2002.

Placido Polanco was the Phillies third baseman immediately after Rolen’s departure, and slid over to second when Doug Bell was “imported” from the Giants in 2003. He lasted until the 2005 deadline (a.k.a. Year 1 of the “Utley Experience”), when he was dealt to the Detroit Tigers for reliever Ugueth Urbina (pronounced oo-GET), and infielder Ramon Martinez. Neither made an impact on the team, nor returned in 2006 (Urbina went to jail, and Martinez left for the Dodgers). So, 3 years after he left, we have nothing left to show for Polanco, though Urbina’s sticky situation is no one’s fault but his own.

Mike Timlin was a solid, 12-year veteran pitcher when the Phillies obtained him (if somewhat unpopular). He had a decent season (giving up a career-best 14 walks), but left as a free agent to the Boston Red Sox after the season, where he rejuvenated his career. We have nothing left to show for him.

Bud Smith (the final player in the deal), never saw the light of the major leagues again after the Cardinals traded him. The reliever was, putting it nicely, one of the majors biggest disappointments this decade. His no-hitter as a rookie in September of 2001 against the Padres is most assuredly his biggest achievement in life. The highest he pitched for the Phillies was AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2002 and 2004. He was largely hurt throughout his short Philly tenure, and pitched sparingly in 2003 for both AA Reading, and High A Clearwater. After 2004, he departed for the Twins, and has since pitched in the Golden Baseball League (independent ball) in 2006 and 2007 for the Long Beach Armada. We got nothing out of him, except for a few minor league strikeouts.

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Where are they now?

Rolen went on to win the 2006 World Series with St. Louis, before being dealt to Toronto after 2007 for fellow third baseman Troy Glaus, where he is currently. Rolen has been hurt several times in his career, and, at age 33, is at nearing the end of his illustrious career.

Nickle retired after 2004 after having being largely anonymous in his brief career.

Polanco, as mentioned, was traded to the Detroit Tigers in 2005. He is still playing for them, and won the 2006 pennant. Earned a place in the all-star game in 2006 as the starting second baseman.

Timlin, now 42, is still pitching for the Red Sox and has been an integral part of the World Series-winning 2004 and 2007 Boston bullpens.

Smith is now out of baseball after pitching in the indy leagues, trying to salvage his once-promising career.

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Trivia Section

Who was the last Cardinal to wear 51 (the former number of fan favorite Willie McGee)?

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