In the fifth inning of Saturday’s game against the Chicago Cubs, a single to right field solidified Jimmy Rollins legacy in Philadelphia. The 3-1 single off of Cubs pitcher Edwin Jackson meant that Rollins had officially passed Hall of Fame third baseman, Mike Schmidt, to become the Phillies all-time leader in hits with 2,235. Now just days after the record setting hit, the reality of Jimmy Rollins career coming to an end in Philadelphia might be just weeks away.
A couple of days before the start of the 2014 season, Rollins made it clear that he has no intentions of waving his no-trade clause with one year left on his contract.
“If we’re in absolutely last place with nowhere to go and change is obviously on the horizon, then at that point I’d think about it. But anything short of a complete disaster, I’m wearing red and white pinstripes.”
Well the reality of the situation is that the Phillies are indeed in last place and are six-and-a-half games out of first place in the National League East. With a deflated pitching staff and an aging core of offensive weapons, that includes Rollins, Ryan Howard, and Chase Utley, it would appear that the Phillies are preparing for an arduous rebuilding period. This is the primary reason they might be looking to shop Rollins.
This season the 15 year veteran is batting .249 this season with a .343 on-base percentage, 61 hits and 26 RBI. There are a number of teams that could, and would, be interested in the veteran switch-hitters services. And now, most importantly, the 35-year old is open to being traded from the team that helped shape him into a potential Hall of Fame candidate.
“It really depends if everything is blown up,” Rollins told reporters. “Then you take that into consideration. If they blow everything up, then of course.”
When Rollins says “of course” he means that he would be willing to be traded, and he followed up this statement with the following.
“Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about that right now,” the shortstop told reporters. “But if that time does come, and it’s time to go, people move on. We have six weeks. We can make it difficult on Ruben (Amaro Junior, the Phillies general manager). The division hasn’t gotten away from us at all yet. Hopefully we have a little magic left.”
Rollins is set to make $11 million this season with an $11 million dollar vesting option for 2015, which makes him an interesting candidate to be traded. On one hand, a team like the Yankees might want his services for a relatively low price for the rest of the season, but he would primarily be used as a designated hitter or in a pinch hitting position. The Blue Jays might also be in a similar situation to land the veteran position player. On the other hand, a National League team like the San Francisco Giants or Los Angles Dodgers might look at Jimmy as an insurance player for their shortstop position that can go hot or cold, depending on the opposing match-up. Rollins might fit in perfectly behind a Brandon Crawford or Hanley Ramirez without asking for too much in return. Additionally, any team that signs Rollins this season could re-structure his contract for next year and bring him in for a cheaper asking price.
Whichever team is able to land Rollins will bring in a clubhouse veteran, who has be around a winning organization. Rollins is the Phillies all-time leader in doubles with 466, and is top ten in nearly every other offensive category, including extra-base hits (782), at-bats (8,331), total bases (3,540), games played (2,015), runs (1,281), and triples (109). He is one of only 19 players in baseball history with at least 400 doubles, 100 triples and 200 home runs.
Though he is approaching the tail-end of his career, his veteran presence and willingness to win one more World Series might just make him the right option for a clubhouse looking for the final piece to their championship roster.