The Dodgers considered Rolen as an insurance policy at third base for Luis Cruz and as a right-handed-hitting back-up at first base for Adrian Gonzalez, even though Rolen, an eight-time Gold Glove Award winner at third base, hasn't played first base in the Major Leagues.
Cincinnati, where Rolen had played the past four years, is still waiting to hear whether Rolen would return to the Reds or retire to spend more time with his family.
Rolen will be 38 in April and has been limited to 157 games combined over the past two seasons because of problems with his left shoulder, which underwent surgery in 2011. In those two seasons, his average and power declined. His .948 fielding percentage last year was a career low.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, a fellow Indianan, spoke to Rolen three weeks ago about what the Dodgers envision his role would be, but Mattingly did not ask Rolen specifically about the veteran's decision making or timing.
The Dodgers can use bench help. They acquired Skip Schumaker from St. Louis because he can play center field. They have Jerry Hairston as a potential back-up third baseman, but he is coming off hip surgery.
Juan Uribe, who was signed to be the starting third baseman two seasons ago but has struggled, could be a back-up corner infielder by default. There does not appear to be another obvious candidate to spell Gonzalez or be a right-handed power bat off the bench.
Cruz, a career Minor Leaguer who will be 29 next month, was given a last-gasp opportunity last summer and surprised the organization by starting the rest of the season at third base, hitting .297 with six homers and 40 RBIs in 283 at-bats.
Mattingly has said that Cruz deserves the first shot at keeping the starting job, but conceded that management is uncertain whether Cruz can maintain his improved play for a second season.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.