For the most part, Jimmy Rollins has been a popular player over his dozen years with the Philadelphia Phillies.
That popularity will be strained, however, should Rollins’ sagging numbers continue to decline.
For the Phillies to make any kind of second-half run, they will need a big effort from Rollins and nothing that he’s done has suggested he’s got it in him.
Certainly, Rollins’ hasn’t helped. He’s hitting .258 and that’s 12 points below his career average, and since his .296, 30-home run MVP season in 2007, his numbers have dropped off dramatically. He followed that MVP season by hitting .277, .250 and .243 in successive years.
Worse yet, at least from a fans’ perspective, have been the frequent jogs down to first base while players like Chase Utley and Ben Revere make a habit of busting it down the line all the time. Plus, Rollins’ comments seem to suggest that he’s not all that upset by the team’s .500 record.
Getting beaten three of out of four times in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ on the final road trip was disappointing, discouraging, upsetting and disgusting to one of the largest baseball fan bases in the country. It wasn’t for any of those things for Rollins, who told reporters he wasn’t discouraged for even disappointed losing three of four to a team with a worse record than the Phillies.
“Disappointed? I’m not disappointed at all,” Rollins said. “This series could have been 3-1 in either direction or 2-2. They played a little better. They got the job done and that’s all that matters.” In ignominy, the “not disappointed” comment might rank right up there with the Philadelphia Eagles’ Ricky Watters saying, “For who, for what?” when reporters asked him why he appeared to short-arm a catchable pass over the middle in an Eagles’ loss. Watters was run out of town not long after that. It also rates with Rollins calling Phillies fans “front-runners” five years ago.
Recently, he has been somewhat better, hitting .268 in 2010, and .263 last year sandwiched around a .250 season but it has not been enough to matter. He currently is second on the team in leaving runners in scoring position stranded with two outs (31 times), and has flew out or struck out in more than half of those at-bats.
The “not disappointed” comment earlier this year only fuels that perception but that’s probably something Rollins should have known all along. If the Phillies don’t get into contention because Rollins is having another subpar season, then fans will have a convenient scapegoat.