Neither Side in the Right on Rollins

Posted: March 18, 2014 in Uncategorized
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rollinsJimmy Rollins has been given an ultimatum by the Philadelphia Phillies. Either the former MVP shortstop leads, or he leaves. That’s the choice Rollins has to make this spring, as rumors swirl about the team’s interest in dealing the overpriced veteran.

Things weren’t always quite so contentious between the two sides. Rollins agreed to a three-year contract extension with a vesting option for a fourth after the 2011 season. But, back-to-back pitiful campaigns for both the team and the player have soured relations a bit. Rollins, 35, hit just .252-5-39 a year ago and is entering the final year of his contract. The reason for all of these issues likely comes back to Ryne Sandberg, who took over for Charlie Manuel last season. Sandberg is a fiery personality, which stands contradictory to Manuel’s laid back, player-first demeanor. There’s a good chance that Rollins, who has always been a rather me-first player, has rubbed Sandberg the wrong way with his actions.

Philadelphia would like to trade Rollins and move forward with Freddy Galvis starting at the position before a youngster like Roman Quinn or JP Crawford is ready in a few years. But, as a 10 and 5 player, the team is forbidden from dealing Rollins without his prior approval. That’s where the situation gets a little sticky. Yes, the team offered him the contract and he has every right as a player to refuse to be dealt. But, Rollins’ refusal isn’t based on the best interests of the team. They’re rooted in the interests of Jimmy Rollins. The 35-year old is just 60 hits shy of breaking Mike Schmidt’s record for hits in a Phillies’ uniform, among other stats that he is also nearing the top. At 2,175 base knocks, Rollins has done a lot for this franchise. But, his refusal to do one more deed may be the straw that broke the camel’s back with regards to a successful relationship between the two sides.

The fact is that neither side is right in this argument. The Phillies signed Rollins to a contract, which in baseball becomes fully guaranteed the moment pen is put to paper. Meanwhile, Rollins, a Phillies’ legend, would like to cement his status in the franchise’s lore. Few will find too much fault in that. Something is going to have to change. Whether it’s Rollins’ attitude or Sandberg’s approach to dealing with it. If the 2014 Phillies are going to avoid the same fate as the 2013 team, they’ll need Jimmy Rollins to play like Jimmy Rollins.


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