J-Rollin’ Outta Here? Not So Fast

Posted: December 16, 2013 in Uncategorized
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One of the greatest Philadelphia Phillies in history is reportedly on the chopping block. Jimmy Rollins, the team’s fourth leading hitter of all time, is actively being shopped by Ruben Amaro Jr according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.

In 2013, Rollins put together the worst cumulative offensive season of his career. In 160 games, the shortstop hit .252 with just six home runs and 39 RBI (both career lows). This came on the heels of a strong 2012, when the 35-year old raked 23 home runs. With Freddy Galvis, Cesar Hernandez, and Roman Quinn all looking like potential middle-infielders of the future, the team’s interest in dealing the veteran is conspicuous.

Trading Rollins, however, could prove difficult for the Phillies’ front office. Obviously, his value is at its lowest with regards to on-field production. Not only did J-Roll struggle with the stick last season; he also saw his once advanced defensive metrics continue to decline. The four-time Gold Glove Award winner’s -2.7 UZR/150 (the number of runs above or below average a fielder is, per 150 defensive games) and -15 defensive runs saved were the worst numbers of his illustrious career.

Contributing to Rollins’ immovability is his contract, which will see the 35-year old earn $11 million in 2014, the final guaranteed year of another “Amaro Special,” a three-year, $33 million contract signed prior to 2012. The deal also contains a rather attainable vesting option for $11 million in 2015 if Rollins reaches 434 plate appearances in 2014 (by comparison, Jimmy had 666 PA last year). Should that option not vest, the Phillies have an $8 million team option for Rollins. If that option is declined by the team, then Rollins is bestowed with a $5 million player option. Either way, it appears that Rollins will have plenty of “options” in play for 2015.

Further making Olney’s point moot is Rollins’ full no-trade clause, which allows him to block a trade to any team. Last summer, when the Rollins rumors began, the shortstop was quoted as saying that he had no interest in waiving his no-trade protection regardless of the team that he was being shopped to. After all, Jimmy is approaching the pinnacle of numerous prestigious franchise records, including hits (59 behind Mike Schmidt), runs (259 behind Schmidt), and stolen bases (85 behind Billy Hamilton). For the Phillies to have any hopes of dealing Rollins, they would first have to convince the former NL MVP that these accolades are not worth hurting the team’s future. Something tells me that will be a non-starter for Rollins.

Yes, the team is likely shopping their best shortstop of all time. But, it is extremely doubtful that, barring injury, anyone besides Jimmy Rollins is starting at shortstop next April. For once, a player wants to spend the entirety of his career in red pinstripes. We should be proud of the past that Rollins has brought and hopeful for the future achievements by one of the best that ever played the position.

Go to DirecTV and get the MLB Extra Innings package to make sure you don’t miss an inning of the action this season.

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