When Philadelphia Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg thinks of Jimmy Rollins these days, two words immediately come to mind.
“No comment” was the quote Sandberg said when asked about Rollins recently. Never have two words said so much. The other day when Sandberg was talking about how positive backup shortstop Freddy Galvis was and how he brought great energy to the team and what a positive clubhouse influence was. When a reporter asked Sandberg if Rollins brought the same qualities, Sandberg answered, “No comment.”
Woo-Hoo, Phillies Nation said. Someone in a position of authority finally said what just about every fan has been thinking about over the last three years. Rollins typically won’t run out ground balls to first base and that might have been fine under former manager “Good Time” Charlie Manuel, but it won’t fly under Hall of Fame second baseman Sandberg.
Good for Sandberg.
The sad reality is that Rollins has been the leader of the clubhouse malaise that has infected this team for the last three seasons and he needs to be put on notice that there is some real competition between him and Galvis. If he doesn’t respond to the challenge, he needs to sit — maybe for the entire season.
A year ago on the last day of June, the Phillies — who had a better record at the time — lost three of four to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Rollins had a typical Rollins response when asked if he was disappointed. “Disappointed, I’m not disappointed at all,” Rollins said on the plane ride home to Comcast Sports. Not surprising, the fortunes of the two franchises went in opposition directions after that series. He refused to be traded at the July 31 trade deadline a year ago, stating he wanted to set some franchise records (notice that he didn’t say lead the team back to the World Series).
Rollins has always been about “me” and not “us.” This spring, he uttered “Who cares?” when asked about the Phillies’ offensive woes this spring even in a spring where the Phillies have to get back in the habit of winning again.
Remarks like those do not go over well with a fan base who lives and dies on how the Phillies perform. Rollins is set in his ways enough that Sandberg’s attempt to light a fire probably won’t have the desired effect but, to quote Rollins:
The bench is probably the best place for Rollins. Maybe then he will acquiesce to be traded for the betterment of all parties.