A Graphical Look at the Glaus/Rolen Trade
To standardize things only the past three years of data will be used. For the most part I’d like to give a graphical view of this trade as a tedium of much of the data currently out there.
Pretty straight forward. Glaus was on the field more than Rolen for the three year period of 2005 – 2007.
With Glaus attaining full free agency privileges in 2010 and the chance to opt out with 2009 being a player option, this strikes as one of the clear advantages for the Cardinals. Riccardi & his Jays have picked up an extra year (and about $12 million) worth of a suspect Rolen. With league revenues up 18% last season, locking a player in for the next three years is less of burden now then in the past, yet the constant plague of injuries, along with a questionable attitude make this a riskier trade for the Blue Jays. Even if Glaus opts out the Cardinals will likely get a 1st round pick as compensation. On the other hand the Jays have to hope that Rolen pans out over the next three seasons (where he will be 33, 34 & 35 years of age).
Avoiding the usual OPS style analysis, I’m attempting something different (at least for this site). Appearing in 1941 & very popular in subsequent years before the advent & popularity of the home computer was a baseball stats game named all-star baseball. Without delving into the specifics (Wiki History Here) the game used a set of “spinners”. For an real-life individual player their spinner would consist of probable outcomes. Below is a three year average spinner for Glaus & Rolen.
As the spinner indicates, the OBP percentages are fairly even. The one striking difference within the spinners is the distribution of extra base hits. Both players hit for extra bases in approximately 10% of their plate appearances. The make-up of this 10% does differ however, as Glaus is more prone to the long ball and Rolen is acclimated to the double.
Without getting to bogged down in sabermetric land below is a set of Linear Weight values via Tango Tiger. For simplicities sake we’ll keep in mind the average value of a double vs a homer run (all values are in runs).
As we can see, on average a HR has a run value that is twice that of a double. This makes sense, as batters such as Freddy Sanchez & Lyle Overbay are consistent doubles producers, yet their RBI totals are typically lower than that of a long ball hitter.
On the surface this give Glaus a greater value at the plate.
Without delving too far into defensive data here is a four year snapshot of defensive data from the Hardball Times. Clearly Rolen is the superior defensive player. Leading off in the images is Glaus, followed by Rolen:
Factoring in all of our charts & chatter I would give the nod to the Cardinals on this transaction. They moved a property in Rolen that everyone knew was on his way out. This should have (in theory) given opposing GM’s an advantage in negotiations. Yet the Cardinals traded a player in Rolen that is less productive at the plate, spends more time of the DL, has a questionable attitude and that is carrying an extra year of a large guaranteed contract for another all-star in Troy Glaus.