St. Louis Cardinals: 5 trades which built the bridge to their 105-win 2004 season

St. Louis Cardinals World Series Ring Ceremony
St. Louis Cardinals World Series Ring Ceremony / Scott Rovak/GettyImages
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Trade 3. Adding the final piece of the "MV3".

The final piece of the 2004 "MV3" was added on July 29. 2002 when the Cardinals traded Placido Polanco, Mike Timlin, and Bud Smith to the Philadelphia Phillies for Doug Nickle and future Baseball Hall of Famer, Scott Rolen.

The Cardinals felt Rolen's presence immediately when he arrived in St. Louis in 2002. In 55 games he hit 14 HR, and 44 RBIs, along with a .915 OPS and a 139 OPS+. He also earned his 4th career Gold Glove and his first Silver Slugger Award.

However, it was in 2004 that was Rolen's best season of his career. Rolen and his right-handed bat had career best in HR(34), RBI(124), OBP(.409), SLG(.598), OPS(1.007), OPS+(158), and WAR(9.2). Additionally, he earned his 6th Gold Glove, was selected for his 3rd All-Star appearance, and finished fourth in the NL MVP.

The Jasper, Indiana native's 2004 was capped by a two-run homer in the sixth inning of Game 7 of the NLCS against Roger Clemens of the Astros, which helped the Cardinals win the National League Pennant.

After 2004, Rolen had one more stellar season in St. Louis, when in 2006, he helped lead the Cardinals to their 17th NL Pennant and 10th World Series Championship.

During that Championship season, Rolen hit 22 HR and had 95 RBI. He also had a slash line of .296/.369/.518, a 126 OPS+. and earned his 7th Gold Glove. Additionally, during the World Series against the Detroit Tigers, he hit a slash line of .421/.426/..737 in 5 games.

Rolen had one more injury-plagued season in St. Louis, before being traded to the Toronto Blue Jays after the 2007 season. During his six years in St. Louis, the 6-4 245lb third baseman had a slash line of .286/.370/.510, a 127 OPS+, with a 25.9 WAR. Furthermore, he earned four Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger Award, and made four All-Star Appearances,

Scott Rolen is a member of the St, Louis Cardinal Hall of Fame, and will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame this summer.