Cards, Blue Jays set to swap third basemen
by Ken Rosenthal
Scott Rolen is on the verge of escaping St. Louis manager Tony La Russa. Troy Glaus is on the verge of escaping the artificial turf in Toronto.
The Cardinals and Blue Jays are closing in on an exchange of their third basemen, major-league sources say, but both former All-Stars must pass physicals before a deal is completed.
Those physicals are no small issue since Rolen is coming off surgery on his right shoulder and Glaus surgery on his left foot.
While both players have agreed to waive their no-trade clauses, the differences in their contracts also might need to be resolved, most likely through a cash payment from the Cardinals to the Blue Jays.
Rolen, 32, is owed $33 million over the next three seasons. Glaus, 31, is guaranteed $24 million over the next two, including an $11.25 million player option for 2009.
The commissioner's office must approve the trade if it involves a cash exchange of more than $1 million.
If the trade is completed, it would provide fresh starts for two players who — for different reasons — grew uncomfortable with their current clubs.
Rolen has feuded with La Russa since at least the 2006 season, when questions about Rolen's shoulder caused La Russa to bench him during the National League Championship Series.
The rift became untenable after La Russa wrote Rolen a four-page letter at the end of the season and then escalated the feud with comments he made at the Winter Meetings. La Russa said Rolen was the only Cardinal who did not want him to return as manager and that the team would not easily accommodate Rolen's request to be traded.
Glaus, meanwhile, is happy in Toronto but the change would benefit him physically. His recurring foot problems leave him better suited to play on a natural-grass surface such as the one at St. Louis' Busch Stadium.
Glaus appeared in only 115 games last season, batting .262 with 20 homers and 62 RBIs. Rolen appeared in only 112 games, batting .265 with eight homers and 58 RBIs.
The Cardinals acquired Rolen from the Phillies at the 2002 non-waiver deadline. The Jays obtained Glaus from the Diamondbacks after the 2005 season.
I hope both players can get a fresh start.