Mark Sheldon is reporting that the Reds have restructured and extended Scott Rolens contract to provide some salary relief for the Reds in 2010.

Rolen will receive $6M in 2010 instead of $11M with a $5M signing bonus spread out over the next three years. Plus they extended his contract for two additional guaranteed years in 2011 and 2012 at $6.5M per season. The payout will look something like the following.

Rolen  Age    Salary    Bonus
2010    35      $6M     $1.6M
2011    36    $6.5M     $1.6M
2012    37    $6.5M     $1.6M

I think this is a big gamble to lay out $8M a year on a player who will be 35 to 37 years old over the course of the contract who is already a shadow of his former self. Rolen’s career OPS is .868, but the last three seasons it’s been .729, .780, and .823. He has also averaged just 118 games played over the last three years. That’s two or three 15 game DL stints a season. If Rolen can play 128 G and OPS .823 over the next three years, this will have been a good move. But I feel that is a tall order to fill for the 35 year old Rolen who’s power appears to have disappeared since a shoulder injury in 2005.

This also brings up the question of what will the Reds do now with Juan Francisco and Todd Frazier, one of whom seemed to be the heir apparent at 3B for when Rolen’s contract ran out at the end of next season. Will they actually move Franciso to LF? Will Frazier ever find a positional home on the diamond, 2B/LF/3B? Who knows, I’m pretty sure the Reds don’t though. Perhaps one or both of them will be dealt for a similar prospect at a position of need like a SS, C, or a SP.

This is a curious move, how do you think it will pan out?