One of the favorite topics on Philadelphia sports talk radio revolves around the refusal of both Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins to move off their no-trade clauses. Utley will be the lone Philadelphia Phillies player participating in tonight’s MLB All-Star game, starting and hitting seventh. Rollins recently became the team’s all-time hits leader.
The thinking of many of the callers is that both are “selfish” and “do not want to improve the team” by refusing to be traded. That’s hogwash. I don’t think either Utley or Rollins wake up every morning thinking of ways in which to improve the club. That’s the GM’s job, and the GM is Ruben Amaro Jr. — not Utley or Rollins.
Both would have a relatively low view of their overall value if they thought that they could “improve” the Phillies by leaving. Probably both are thinking that the Phillies would be better off improving the outfield behind them than destabilizing the middle of the infield by getting rid of them.
Then there is the evolution of players’ rights, and both Utley and Rollins have earned the right to determine where they will be working due to the negotiations of hundreds of players before them. Back in the day, even if a player had put in 10 years, they could be traded without their consent and their families uprooted. That doesn’t happen anymore, and players who put in the time should get to dictate if they go or stay.
In other words, you do not hear Utley or Rollins calling a talk show and demanding that Joe Sixpack acquiesce to go from a factory in Philadelphia to one in Kansas City to “improve the company.” Both Utley and Rollins deserve the same kind of consideration from the fans. In fact, they’ve earned it.