It’s the elephant in the room that Ruben Amaro, Jr. and the rest of the Phillies brass have pushed back as long as they possibly could. They have had more important things to take care of. The breathing room is almost up though as Jimmy Rollins’ contract is up at the end of the 2011 season.
Rollins is a Philadelphia baseball stalwart and a vital part of the Phillies’ rise among Major League Baseball’s best. He has been with the club since 2000, which means he has seen the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. The Phillies should reward his loyalty.
Sure, Rollins’ production has dropped off a bit after his stellar 2007 NL MVP season and injuries have become more frequent. Though these things are true, Rollins is still an elite shortstop in the game. He plays an excellent defensive shortstop and can throw out almost anyone from deep in the hole with his hose of an arm. There are not many out there with that type of talent.
As mentioned above, his production at the plate has dipped since that incredible 2007 season where he backed up every single word he said before the season began. But outside of that season, he has never been a high average type of guy. In fact, he has only hit above .280 in three of his eleven seasons, which probably explains why he has taken grief for not being a prototypical leadoff hitter.
I don’t understand questioning Rollins and his abilities. Obviously, whatever he’s been doing throughout the course of his career has worked extremely well.
One of the things lost in all this hoopla over his contract is his age. Rollins will only be 33 years old when the 2012 season begins next spring. That is not old by any means. Could his absolute best years be behind him? Sure, but this isn’t a Derek Jeter type of situation where an almost 38-year old shortstop has noticeably lost a step.
Has Rollins noticeably lost a step over the best few years? I don’t think so. He still has plenty of high quality baseball left in him.
Are there really any better 2012 free agent shortstop options out there than Jimmy Rollins? Yes, I know Jose Reyes will likely be available but with the season he’s having, he will be asking for the world and more. I highly doubt the Phils will throw their hat in that race and offer Reyes an insane contract.
Take a look at the rest of the potential free agent shortstop list. Is there anyone else on that list besides Rollins that really intrigues you?
Alex Gonzalez of Atlanta? I’d rather have Rollins. Orlando Cabrera? Proven winner but I’ll go with Rollins. Edgar Renteria? Gimmie Rollins. That’s about it for the free agent crop outside of Rollins and Reyes. Keep in mind that Rollins, at age 33, is still younger than the potential options listed above.
Do the Phillies have any shortstops in their system that could replace J-Roll next season? To be quite frank about it, no. Double A shortstop Freddy Galvis is, by all accounts, the best SS in the system but he doesn’t seem quite ready for the show. Their AAA shortstops, Brian Bocock and Kevin Frandsen, are journeymen who have struggled during MLB appearances. Wilson Valdez and Michael Martinez are with the big league club but they seem more like role players than everyday players.
As you can see, there aren’t many better options out there than J-Roll. Rollins needs to be signed. Not for a very long term. Four years sounds about right to me.
Hey Ruben, do the right thing for your club and sign Jimmy Rollins to a new contract.