Frazier preparing to be Reds' No. 1 man at third
With Rolen mulling retirement, enthusiastic youngster craving full-time job
CINCINNATI -- While veteran third baseman Scott Rolen has yet to announce his intentions for 2013 -- whether to retire, play for the Reds, or play for another team -- Todd Frazier isn't waiting around for the answer.
Frazier, who had a breakout 2012 season for the Reds and finished third in National League Rookie of the Year voting last week, is preparing himself to be Rolen's full-time replacement.
"I hope so. I would like that. I want that," Frazier said. "There's nothing more that I do want. I want to help this team. I want to have that starting role and try to lead again and bring all of that energy that I do."
The Reds are also moving in that direction -- Frazier appears to be their guy.
"Right now, Frazier would be penciled in as our third baseman next year," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said.
Rolen became a free agent after a season in which he was limited to 92 games while batting .245, with eight home runs and 39 RBIs. He missed 34 games on the disabled list with a strain in his problematic left shoulder and missed several more games with periodic back spasms.
Another factor is that Rolen will turn 38 on April 4.
"I talked to him at the end of the season, and he said he'd have to get with his family to decide if he was playing or not," Jocketty said.
Frazier, 26, batted .273 with 19 home runs and 67 RBIs in 128 games last season. He made 66 starts at third base in the oft-injured Rolen's place. Although he had five errors in 155 chances, he largely held his own well defensively. Rolen's glove is not easy to fill considering he is an eight-time Gold Glove winner.
Whatever Frazier lacks on the field, he makes up for with confidence and moxie.
"The bottom line is I'm going into Spring Training with my mind knowing I've got a position," Frazier said. "That's the comfort level I'm talking about -- being positive and understanding, 'You are the best at what you do.' I will just keep grinding and keep having fun."
As for some of the Reds' other free agents, there was little sign of movement heading into Thanksgiving. Jocketty is trying to re-sign left fielder Ryan Ludwick and relievers Jonathan Broxton and Ryan Madson.
"We've had conversations with all of them," Jocketty said. "We're not close to anything. [This] week we'll have limited contact, I'd think."