Rollins Holds Court
Here are the highlights:
Question: What was your reaction when you heard about the Roy Halladay trade?
Answer: When I first heard about it? Jayson Werth actually sent me a text. He was like, ‘What’s going on?’ But I could hear the panic in his voice. I’m like, ‘What happened? Roy? We didn’t get him? Damn. He went somewhere else?’ He was like, ‘No, we got him. But we traded away Cliff.’ I was like, ‘Oh. You mean we only get to keep one?’ He’s like, ‘Yeah.’ That’s really not a bad trade off. We’re going to miss Cliff’s hitting, especially those two-out doubles. I’m on deck like, ‘Why are they still pitching to this guy?’ But in all seriousness, you lost a great pitcher in Cliff Lee. There’s no doubt about that. But we picked up an even better. That’s nothing to not to be happy about.
Q: What do you want to improve?
A: Everything. I told Davey I want to try to steal 50 bases. That’s the first thing I want to try to do. Will it happen? Let’s see. But that’s my goal. It’s a place I’ve never been before, so it gives me something to shoot at. I’m trying to keep the errors under three this year. That would be nice. I was on pace for that, but at the end slipped up a bit. I’m still trying to score 150 runs. Never hit .300 and working on 200 hits. There’s still a lot of things for me to do. If I do those things hopefully I’ll be doing a good enough job to bring us another championship.
Q: Any predictions?
A: We do have a chance to do something special. Frank came and told me that National League teams that go to the World Series three years in a row win two out of three. That sounds like some pretty good odds.
Q: What do you think about Polanco hitting behind you?
A: Well, he’s done it before. There will be a lot of first to thirds if I’m on. Well, probably not our ballpark, but most other places. But Polanco is a good hitter. He sprays the ball around. He puts the ball in play. He will move guys up. He will drive in runs. A lineup can be changed. We’ve seen Charlie change a few spots. He keeps the 3, 4, 5 guys pretty much the same unless there’s a left-handed pitcher, but nothing is ever set in stone with Charlie.
Q: In 2008 an ankle injury slowed you. In 2009 you had a bad first half. How determined are you to put together a complete season again?
A: Obviously, ’08, that was an injury. Last year just a bad first half. Just never really got going in the first half. Other than that I did a couple things right. I scored 100 runs. That’s just the bottom line thing. Make sure I score at least 100. I stole 30 bases. I felt active in places where I could. But you can’t do much more if you’re not on base. Find a way to get a few more hits in there. If they’re not going to pitch to me, get a few more walks. But they’re going to pitch to me. I’ll just work on the hitting part.
Q: Did you think back to what happened in the first half last year?
A: I didn’t think about it during the season. Each day was the same. I never really got to a point of – how did it get here? I keep moving forward. You look back behind you, you find yourself going that way. I told Milt, Charlie, don’t worry about it. I’ll get there. That’s nothing to worry about. Charlie just kept asking me, ‘When?’ so you guys could stop asking him questions.
Q: Do you think about the window of opportunity closing for this team?
A: You never think about the team breaking up until it actually does. Things can happen. Find some money somewhere to give to a guy. Unfortunately, you’re not going to keep everybody. But if that doesn’t happen find somebody to step in and take his place. You can look at the Atlanta Braves for the years they had those runs. They figured out how to put things together. They had a formula there for people to step in and get it done. As long as there are games to be played, you have pitching and hitting and guys that believe, it really doesn’t matter as far as the group of guys that are going to be there.
Q: Is this team better than last year’s team?
A: I don’t know. We were a pretty good team. We didn’t play good for six games, but we were a pretty good team. You pick up a guy like Roy Halladay it’s tough to say you’re not better automatically. But we had Cliff Lee at the time and what he did for us, you don’t get much better than that. Bullpen-wise. We’ve made some additions. J.C. is going to be healthy. If J.C. was healthy last year at that point it would have made a big difference. I would say it’s pretty close. I couldn’t say we’re much better, but when you get a guy like Roy Halladay it seems like at least another five wins on his own.
Q: What did you think of Werth’s look?
A: (laughs) Oh, man. Yeah. I’ve actually seen him like that before. That’s pretty amazing. He’s pretty good right now. He’s pretty good. Who do I think he looks like? I don’t know. He looks like a dude when you’re driving down the street hanging on the corner with a sign, trying to get some change. That’s J-Dub. He said he doesn’t want to look pale on the jumbo screen in September with the pictures he took in February and March.
Q: When you were making the predictions every spring … has this team reached the point where you don’t need to send those kind of messages anymore?
A: Yeah, I think so. At this point you did it just for fun. Just for laughs. Everybody knows what needs to be done. Everybody knows what’s expected. And then more importantly everybody believes. Every year you come into spring training and of course we’re supposed to win. We’re supposed to. We’re a Major League ballclub. They pay us to go out and win games. We’re supposed to. But believing in it, watching it happen is completely different. And now that we have that it no longer needs to be said. When players come over here they know the short brief history of that episode and they know what’s expected of them. You come in because we think you can help us out in that department.
Q: So you’ve tossed the crystal ball in the attic?
A: The magic eight-ball? Shoot, I don’t know where that thing is. Shake it a couple times … maybe. (laughs)
Q: What did you think about the Phillies picking up your 2011 option?
A: Ruben just called me. I don’t know when it was. He just said, ‘Hey, I want to let you know tomorrow we’re going to announce that we’re picking up your option.’ Oh, OK. That’s cool. And about 15 minutes later I really started thinking about it like, ‘OK, yeah, that’s real cool.’ He said just go out there, relax and play. We want you to be here. We’ll go ahead and take that pressure off. I never even thought about it. I’ve only been in this organization and it never really dawned upon me to leave.
Q: Is it too farfetched to see yourself finishing your career in Philly?
A: When I get older they might boot me out or some young dude might come run me off the block or something. That happens. At that point I’ll make a decision. I’ve always said to myself – and this is in the future, of course – when I no longer play every day there’s really no reason for me to be playing. I’m not going to be a guy to come off the bench and contribute. I’m not going to all of a sudden get three or four steps back behind I’m not playing every day. Whenever I get ran off, if I could go somewhere else and play I’ll play. But if not professional golf or something. But some guys just look good in certain colors. And red kind of comes good off my skin.
Q: You know one of the hot topics this spring is who’s the best pitcher in the NL East: Santana or Halladay. Do you want to cast a vote?
A: Cast a vote. Well, overall Roy is. As far as pitching is concerned. Now you bring in the hitting side of things and Santana gets the nod. There’s no doubt about that. Roy can’t hit. There’s no secret there. I texted Roy prior to getting down there, and I told him that he has my vote for National League Rookie of the Year already.
The Fightins also announced its three contest winners for my new book. Great contest, guys. I appreciate it! And if you didn’t win, hey, there’s always the bookstore.