On Saturday, Jimmy Rollins accomplished a goal he had been working towards all season, something that many fans feel will be one of the only highlights of what’s turning out to be a very lackluster season for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Rollins surpassed Mike Schmidt as the Phillies’ all-time hits leader with a single in the seventh inning against the Chicago Cubs. It was the 2,235th hit of his career and was a cause for celebration by both the fans and the team at Citizens Bank Park. Schmidt himself came out to congratulate Rollins, as did his teammates, and it proved to be a nice moment for a franchise that has been struggling mightily all year long.
But now that Rollins has his record, the question becomes, what happens now?
Rollins has long said he had no intention of being traded until he broke the record, which he has now done. He has it built into his contract that he can shoot down any trade for any reason, no excuse needed. This begs the question that if the Phillies have a fire sale at the trade deadline, as many are expecting unless the team goes on a unprecedented winning streak, would Rollins consider allowing himself to be moved to another team?
If you listen to Rollins, it sounds like he has at least left himself open to the option, which wasn’t the case before he broke Schmidt’s hits record.
“It really depends if everything is blown up,” Rollins said the other day. “Then you take that into consideration. Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about that right now. But if that time does come, and it’s time to go … people move on.”
What might be the deciding factor in Rollin’s future with the Phillies could be the simple fact that there is no one ready to step up and fill his considerable shoes at shortstop. Rollins is batting .249 on the season so far with 11 stolen bases and has been having a good year defensively. At this point, there is no one in the Phillies’ farm system ready to come up and produce those kinds of numbers consistently.
No matter what you may think of Rollins and whether he belongs in the Hall of Fame or not, he is now a permanent part of Phillies’ history. It would be nice to see Rollins remain with the Phillies and finish his career with the same franchise he started with, a rarity in any sport these days. The situation might be different if he was not playing at the high level fans are used to seeing, but Rollins remains an important part of this Phillies team, and while it might be tempting to trade him at the deadline, it could be a huge mistake if the team starts to make a run during the second half of the season.
Rollins had what could be the best moment of his long career in a Phillies uniform on Saturday. It would be shame if it was also his last.