The Philadelphia Phillies gave Jimmy Rollins the perfect contract after the 2011 season. The contract was a three-year deal worth $33 million with a fourth year option at the same $11 million rate if he meets certain health and plate appearance criteria. If he doesn’t the option is worth either $8M or $5M depending on which side, Jimmy or the Phillies front office, picks up the option.
In 2012 Jimmy Rollins showed just how valuable he is to the Phillies team. Sure the team was injured for much of the year, but staying healthy and productive in a team’s down year has to count for something, especially when you look at how much more productive he was than the rest of the squad. In fact, besides Cole Hamels, Carlos Ruiz and Jonathan Papelbon, Rollins was the only Phillie that did not come up small in 2012.
Just how much more productive? Jimmy Rollins led the Phillies in the following categories: games played (156), at bats (632), runs (102), hits (158), doubles (33), home runs (23), RBI (68), walks, and was second in steals (30), WAR (3.1) and triples (5). That is dominance.
Jimmy Rollins was the best offensive Phillie last year, holding a slight edge on Carlos Ruiz because: a) Chooch was taking Adderal and b) Jimmy played 42 more games. Further more, Jimmy Rollins was one of the best shortstops in baseball from start to finish last year. Sure, a handful of guys were better in stretches, but at the end of the season Jimmy stood above the pack.
Five years ago if you asked a fan who the Phillies’ equivalent to New York Yankees’ Derek Jeter or the Atlanta Braves Chipper Jones is, that great player that works as the fuel source for their team, most have probably said Chase Utley because he is younger than Rollins and showed more brilliance early in his career. Jimmy has proven otherwise, and has aged like a fine wine, unlike Utley who has aged like a cup of milk left outside during in the summer.
Jimmy Rollins has turned back the clock and his body of work makes him Phillies all-time great. If Jimmy has another similar season all he needs are his fellow battery mates to perform (hell, playing at all would be nice) and this team could be looking at another playoff berth. Also, with another season of 2012 caliber I think the Phillies may strongly consider resigning the iconic shortstop after 2014 for his farewell years, much like the Braves did for Chipper.