Why the Philadelphia Phillies Should Trade Jimmy Rollins
When the Philadelphia Phillies inked Jimmy Rollins to a three-year deal with an option for a fourth year, it seemed the Phillies would be retaining J-Roll through at least 2014 and maybe 2015.
As it turns out, the team may ship him off somewhere – the Los Angeles Dodgers are reportedly interested in acquiring the veteran shortstop and the Oakland Athletics would be a great fit as well.
Rollins is hitting .261/.315/.414 with eight home runs, 33 RBIs, and 14 stolen bases. His .729 OPS is 31 points lower than his career average but it’s higher than his totals in either 2009 or 2010 and nearly as high as last year.
Rollins is on pace for 15 homers, 25 steals, and he’s doing it at his age-33 season. The only other shortstops in the history of the game to have done that at Rollins’ age are Derek Jeter in 2009 and Barry Larkin in 1998. Rollins is still playing good defense and that would be a huge pickup for the Dodgers.
They have gone with Dee Gordon for the majority of the season, although he is currently on the DL with a torn ligament in his thumb. Gordon is hitting just .229/.280/.282 with a .565 OPS that ranks third-worst in the major leagues among players with at least 200 plate appearances. He does have great speed, as he is leading the league in stolen bases (30), but giving the Dodgers Rollins would give them a player with Gordon’s speed plus power, a better glove, and great leadership.
The problem is that Rollins just signed a three-year, $33 million extension, and that’s a lot for the Dodgers to pay for his services. The Phillies may have to pay some of his salary for the Dodgers to pick him up. Another option may be the Oakland Athletics, as Rollins was born in Oakland. A’s shortstops are hitting just .197 this season and have registered the fourth-worst WAR in the game among shortstops.
Playing Freddy Galvis at shortstop for the next several months would be a fine option for the Phillies. Technically the team would have to play a combination of Mike Fontenot, Pete Orr, and Michael Martinez until Galvis returns from his back injury, but then he could take over.
This would also free up money for the Phillies to retain Cole Hamels.