Originally Posted by M2
I think, given the way it happened, it's fairly impossible not to see Rolen as the tipping point. Obviously no player wins games by himself, but once he showed up the collective started to work.
And 9,999 out of 10,000 I'd tell you that was highly unlikely, but (as I mentioned before) we saw it happen. We may never see it again. I can't recall ever seeing it before. Yet it happened. The Reds acquired Scott Rolen. They were 51-71 and then Rolen stepped into the lineup and, presto, they became a baseball team.
The world is almost always more complicated. This was a rare exception. Scott Rolen was the perfect fit. This one's simple. And trying to dismiss it for its simplicity doesn't alter the surgical precision of it. Believe me, I tried that. Finally had to admit that my denial was based on me not wanting to believe it happened even though I know it did.
And I see it as more of a perfect storm. Rolen arrives, so defense at 3B is instantly improved. But Janish also took over at SS in August, GREATLY improving the defense there. The left side of the infield suddenly got a lot better, leading to some better pitching. This was also in evidence the following season as said pitching started to mature, though it still wasn't great outside Cueto and Arroyo. The 2009 staff finished strong and continued that into 2010. that staff was good, while the 2012 staff was very, very good. But the Reds hadn't had good in so long we probably didn't recognize it.
Rolen likely was a tipping point but hardly the only one. And since the 2010 season his on field contribution has been pretty much nil. Now his off-field contributions can really only be measured by the men in the clubhouse, and he's been universally praised.
I still think the cost was too high for a guy forcing his way out of Toronto, making it known he wanted to go to a midwest team. And he had history with Jocketty. TOR took advantage of this, and demanded specific players, Jocketty agreed.
Here is where my opinion has changed slightly. I still believe it was an over pay, but I think sometimes an overpay is warranted. I was and am a bigg EE fan, but it is doubtful TOR would have accepted a trade without him in it. Pitching is especially hard to let go of. The Reds produce Roenicke's all the time, and even though he is still employed at the major league level, he was replaceable. Stewart, DESPITE what happened was the Reds top pitching prospect. While a member of the Reds system, the highest ERA he posted at any level was 2.13. He struck guys out, and gave up a total of 2 HR's in the Reds system, over 2 seasons starting at the Midwest League. There are a ton of guys with TOR stuff that never get there, but when you have hem and use them as trading chips, I think you need to leverage them for more.
So, i go back and forth on this... I do think overpays are warranted, but i also think sometimes Jocketty is known more for overpaying than anything else. This trade was very similar to his trade for Mark Mulder in terms of quantity, 3 for 1 and what happened after. Mulder had one good season and was a disaster after that. Meanwhile, Dan Haren has produced 7-8 more than solid seasons. Calero had a couple of good seasons and Barton is still employed.
So Jocketty has some history with the overpays. sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. He's rarely on the other end, getting a haul for one guy. He had a still young slugger in Adam Dunn and got well.. three players in theory.
That coupled with on field success gets you labeled as respected. And I guess he should be. But this team's success will be defined by it's core players: Votto, Bruce, BP, Cueto, Bailey and Latos. Only one of those guys was acquired by Jocketty. Maybe Chapman, especially if the switch to the rotation is successful.
History might say Rolen was THE tipping point. I disagree, I say he was 1 of three, all converging at the same time.