CINCINNATI -- In a move that creates some budget wiggle room for next season, the Reds have restructured third baseman Scott Rolen's contract for 2010 and extended him through the 2012 season.
In a deal that was completed on Friday, Rolen will receive $23.63 million over the next three seasons. Originally set to earn $11 million in 2010, the 34-year-old will now make $6 million instead and then will get $6.5 million per season in both 2011 and 2012. Also included is a $5 million signing bonus that is deferred over the length of the contract.
"Scott's signing is an indication of his feelings toward the club and the direction we're taking," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said in a statement. "He wants to stay here, and hopefully he can end his career as a Red."
The Reds acquired Rolen from the Blue Jays just before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline and sent third baseman Edwin Encarnacion and pitching prospects Josh Roenicke and Zach Stewart to Toronto.
In 128 games combined with the Reds and Blue Jays in 2009, Rolen batted .305 with 11 home runs and 67 RBIs. Although he suffered a concussion from a beaning during his second game with Cincinnati, he helped the Reds finish the season with a 27-13 record after he was activated from the disabled list.
In giving Rolen two more guaranteed years, the Reds gain payroll flexibility for next season. The team is trying to hold the line as much as possible on the $73 million payroll it had in 2009. Before Rolen's restructured deal, Cincinnati already owed over $64 million to nine players in 2010. Space was so tight that the club did not tender a contract to arbitration-eligible outfielder Jonny Gomes on Dec. 12.
A five-time All-Star and seven-time Gold Glove winner, Rolen is a career .284 hitter with a .370
on-base percentage over his 14 Major League seasons. Because of various injuries, he has averaged
only 111 games per season since 2005.
Rolen will be 37 years old when he finishes his contract in 2012.
The extension also creates speculation over the future of third-base prospect Juan Francisco, who made his Major League debut in 2009. Cincinnati was expected to give Francisco a look for its left-field vacancy at Spring Training before next season. The organization's top prospect, infielder Todd Frazier, can also play third base but now will likely have to ascend to the Majors at a different position.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Reporter Spencer Fordin contributed to this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.