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Cardinals Win Rolen Sweepstakes

July 30, 2002|From Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — Scott Rolen should be much happier in his new red uniform.

The slugging third baseman was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in a five-player deal on Monday, ending a seven-year tenure with the Philadelphia Phillies that ended miserably.

The Phillies get third baseman Placido Polanco, pitcher Bud Smith and reliever Mike Timlin for the three-time Gold Glove winner, minor league pitcher Doug Nickle and cash.

"We are very pleased and excited to add Scott Rolen to our lineup," Cardinal General Manager Walt Jocketty said in a statement. "He is an All-Star, a proven run producer and an excellent defensive player."

Rolen, 27, is expected to join the Cardinals for tonight's game at Florida. He becomes part of a powerful lineup that already features Jim Edmonds, Albert Pujols and J.D. Drew.

Rolen, who made his first All-Star team this season, is batting .259 with 17 homers and 66 runs batted in. He goes from the last-place Phillies to the first-place Cardinals, who lead the National League Central by five games over Cincinnati.

Rolen had been the subject of trade rumors since rejecting a 10-year contract extension last November that could've been worth up to $140 million. He signed an $8.6-million, one-year deal in January, but made it clear he wanted to become a free agent after this season. That decision forced the Phillies to make a move or risk losing him for only two picks in next June's amateur draft.

"I regret the outcome," Phillie General Manager Ed Wade said. "We were very serious about the offer we made."

Rolen did not sign an extension with the Cardinals, so he remains eligible for free agency. However, he has said that he is interested in signing a long-term deal with St. Louis. In the last five years, the Cardinals traded for potential free agents Edmonds and Mark McGwire and convinced them to stay.

Polanco, 26, is hitting .284 with five homers and 27 RBIs. He batted .307 last season and .316 in his first full year, in 2000. Wade said he'll play third base and bat second in Philadelphia's lineup.

Smith, who pitched a no-hitter in his rookie season last year, was sent to triple-A Memphis on July 20 after going 1-5 with a 6.94 earned-run average in 11 appearances, including 10 starts. The 22-year-old left-hander was 6-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 16 games last year and will report to triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre.

Timlin is 1-3 with a 2.51 ERA in 42 appearances and is holding righties to a .197 average. The 36-year-old right-hander is in the final year of a contract that is paying him $5.25 million this season.

The deal was Wade's biggest since he traded Curt Schilling to Arizona for first baseman Travis Lee, and pitchers Vicente Padilla, Omar Daal and Nelson Figueroa in July 2000.

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