Will Rollins Stay or Go?

March 18th, 2014 by Kyle Lutz | Filed under Baseball, General, MLB, Phillies, Sports.

Multiple sources recently have speculated and alluded to the chance that Phillies’ veteran shortstop Jimmy Rollins will be moved sometime this upcoming season, depending upon attitude adjustments from Rollins, or a lack thereof.


Rollins has vehemently expressed continuously that he’d like to stay put, especially to (eventually) become the Phillies’ all-time franchise hits leader. He’s currently ranked fourth all-time among team leaders in hits with 2175, just 59 hits behind Mike Schmidt, who leads the franchise with 2234 career hits. Rollins is also chasing two outfielders in Ed Delahanty and Richie Ashburn. J-Roll is 38 hits behind Delahanty and 42 behind Ashburn, the latter of which is second all-time to Schmidt by a deficit of just 17.

This is the primary reason for which Rollins wants to stay in Philadelphia; to break Schmidt’s record. With his signature laid back approach, he expressed to CSN Philly’s Phillies’ insider Jim Salisbury that it would be an honor, and a feat that only 30 men in MLB history have accomplished, considering the amount of teams within the league.

“There’s only 30 guys that are their team’s leader in hits.” “It’s a pretty high honor.”

As arguably the best shortstop in team history, Rollins has been a fixture at the six spot since making his Major League debut as a September call-up for the team in 2000. He debuted on September 17th, in a 6-5 Phillies’ victory over divisional rival Florida, with his first Major League at-bat coming against Marlins’ starting pitcher Chuck Smith (the former drew a walk and scored a run as well on a two-run Bobby Abreu home run). Irony at its finest: Abreu gave Rollins his first ever run, and 14 years later, albeit on two different occasions, the two are teammates.

Back to the speculation about Rollins’ pending departure, he made it be clearly known a couple days ago that the only possible scenario (at least for the moment) in which he’d leave Philly for elsewhere is if the team were in last place with no success in sight.

“If we’re in absolutely last place with nowhere to go and change is obviously on the horizon, then at that point I’d think about it,” Rollins said to Salisbury. “But anything short of a complete disaster, I’m wearing red and white pinstripes.”

The fact that he’s so overly determined at the moment to set a franchise record, instead of focusing primarily on winning and the team’s best interests moving forward is a cause for concern, especially considering his age (35) and the fact that he’s one of the veteran players on the team. Second baseman Chase Utley and first baseman Ryan Howard have seemed to show a bit more leadership qualities since they came into the league, especially the former, compared to Rollins.

If it was up to me, Rollins would have been dumped a long time ago. Ever since his MVP year of 2007, he’s been nothing less than garbage, and a below-average, first-ball swinging hitter who can’t draw a walk to save his life (which is a major concern individually and for the team considering he’s their lead-off hitter). This is most likely due to his laid-back, casual personality based on his upbringing in sunny Oakland, CA.

J-Roll’s averaged roughly 145 hits/year in the six seasons since his MVP year of 2007, hitting just .257 in that time-span (868/3377); roughly 40 points lower than his .296 BA in 2007. His on-base percentage in that time span averages (and rounds) out to .323; four points fewer than his career on-base percentage of .327. He’s never been the get-on-base type, which is the opposite of what a prototypical lead-off hitter normally accomplishes, and/or is leaned on to do. Rollins’ career high in walks/season came two years ago when he drew 62 walks in 632 total at-bats. If Rollins wants to stay, he not only needs to pick up the slack in the leadership and mentoring departments, but show more patience at the plate as well, especially if the team wants/plans to have any form of success this season.


I firmly believe Ruben Amaro Jr., and the rest of the Phillies’ upper management, will keep him around for the short-term, probably long enough so that he’ll break Schmidt’s franchise hits record, but if/when he’ll be shipped off elsewhere is the question and key factor in finding someone to co-head the franchise’s ship going forward, along with Utley, Howard and Hamels. If I were Amaro, I’d move Rollins to an AL team for a young infielder. Someone that can either hit 20+ home-runs and drive in a decent amount of runs, and/or a position player that can do as much as Rollins (maybe even more), but at a lighter cost. Visualizing the prospect of picking up someone similar to Rollins, but younger in age, would be smart as well.

Of course, not many teams (in the AL, or in general) would want the likes of an aging, 35+ year old veteran who hasn’t hit well on contact in six seasons, and who has declining speed, a fairly poor attitude, an overpaid contract, and a lack of patience at the plate as well. Philadelphia signed Rollins to a 3-year/$33 million dollar deal in 2012 that runs through this season, with an additional $11 million dollar vesting option in 2015* (*depending on numerous factors).

It’s been fun J-Roll, but it’s time to pack up and leave town for good.

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3 Responses to “Will Rollins Stay or Go?”

  1. Leo says:

    If you would like to fill in the gap, you can cover the story for TalkSportsPhilly. I would be interested in hearing more.

  2. Since you are talking about shortstop Jimmy Rollins, this leads me to the 2014 baseball draft, let me ask you a question, I am a long time Philly fan. I moved to Southern California in 2005, and there is a player out here that is a senior in high school that is going to be eligible for the draft in June, his name is Luke Dykstra. Yes, he is the son of the former Philly All-Star Lenny Dykstra. From everything I read (and I have personally went and watched him play) the scouts say he is projected to get drafted in the first or second round. He is 6’2″, weighs 190, plays shortstop, and is his baseball instincts are the best I have ever seen. How could the Phillies not draft this kid? All the scouts say he is going to be an everyday shortstop in the big leagues. They say he can run (I watched him and saw him go first to third like a pro) hit for average, hit with power (they project him to be a 20 to 30 HR guy in the big leagues) has a great arm, and has the bloodlines to be a winning player – I am a Phillies fan, and this is the type of player I want to watch, this is the type of player we need! We want on our team to start rebuilding the organization from within? Yet, for some reason, I haven’t read one comment by the Phillies about this kid. Maybe that’s why the Phillies are so bad right now, as they seem to forget an organization needs to draft players that will one day be a star for them in the big leagues. I know I am just a fan, but doesn’t common sense have to factor in at some point? This would not only be a great move for the organization, but the fans (like me) would be excited about the future in having another Dykstra to watch play baseball every night. Please let me know if this kid is even on the Phillies radar?

    • Leo says:

      If you would like to fill in the gap, you can cover the story for TalkSportsPhilly. I would be interested in hearing more.