Jays, Reds talking about Rolen?

The Blue Jays have more than Roy Halladay potentially up for grabs as Friday’s 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline inches closer. There is reason to believe that Toronto is currently in talks with Cincinnati about a trade that would send third baseman Scott Rolen to the Reds.

After dealing with left shoulder issues for much of the past four years, Rolen’s value has never been higher. He is hitting .320 with a .370 on-base percentage, eight homers and 43 RBIs in 88 games for the Jays. Rolen is still a Gold Glove-caliber third baseman, but he is 34 and might not repeat this performance next year.

Reds GM Walt Jocketty and Rolen go back to their days with the Cardinals and, prior to joining the Jays, the third baseman spent his entire career in the National League. Rolen is under contract for $11 million this season and $11 million in 2010, and the Jays may very well be trimming their payroll again next year.

One source said that “it would definitely be wrong” to say discussing a Rolen trade made no sense for Toronto. A person with knowledge of the Jays’ thinking would neither confirm nor deny that the Reds and Jays were indeed in discussions — usually a sign that something is cooking.

If the Jays do trade Halladay, it’s likely that Toronto would also be looking to shed some more of its payroll, considering contending in 2010 probably isn’t realistic without Doc. Beyond Rolen, various reports have named Lyle Overbay, Alex Rios, Marco Scutaro, Rod Barajas, Scott Downs and Jason Frasor as candidates to be dealt.

One report indicated that the Jays were asking for highly-touted Reds prospect Yonder Alonso (seventh overall in last year’s Draft) in a potential Rolen deal. The Rolen/Reds rumors have persisted for a few weeks and Cincinnati third baseman Edwin Encarnacion has had his name come up as the player possibly headed to Toronto.

The Dodgers are reportedly the new favorites to land Halladay, though Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi told the New York Post on Wednesday that he’s leaning more toward keeping the ace in the fold through next season.

UPDATE: A source on Scott Rolen discussions with the Reds: “All is quiet. Don’t buy into all the other reports.”

–Jordan Bastian

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