Rollins Is Hit King, Talks Future with Phillies

Jimmy Rollins, Mike SchmidtJimmy Rollins has more to accomplish, and it sounds like he hopes to accomplish those things in Philadelphia.

He reached a big one this afternoon when he singled to right field in the fifth inning in a 7-3 victory over the Cubs at Citizens Bank Park. It was the 2,235th hit of his career, which moved him past Mike Schmidt as the franchise’s hits leader.

“I’m not done,” Rollins said afterward. “Hopefully we can bring another championship to the city if I’m here long enough and the rest will be the rest.”

That is the question, isn’t it? Will Rollins be here long enough? He is signed through this season with an $11 million option that automatically vests with just 156 more plate appearances this season.

He will hit that mark with ease.

In fact, he should fly past that mark before the July 31 Trade Deadline, which brings up the biggest question of all. Rollins has 10-and-5 rights, so he can veto any trade at any time for any reason. He said last July in Detroit he would not waive his rights because he wanted to break the hits record.

Well, he has it. He also is playing on a team that, despite four wins in five games this week, is just 29-37 and on pace to lose 91 games following an 89-loss season in 2013 and an 81-loss season in 2012. Five consecutive National League East championships, two National League pennants and one World Series championship between from 2007-11 seems like a distant memory.

If the Phillies hold a fire sale next month would Rollins maintain his no-trade stance?

“It really depends if everything is blown up,” Rollins said. “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.”

That could be in just six weeks.

“Or it could not,” he said.

But Rollins at least sounded more open to it, rather than last July, when he said there is no way he would entertain the thought.

“If they blow everything up, then of course,” he said. “But if not … we have six weeks.”

There are some fans eager to move on, but there are things to consider. First, the Phillies don’t have an heir apparent to Rollins other than Class A Lakewood shortstop J.P. Crawford, but he could be at least a couple years away.

Rollins joined the Phillies as a 21-year-old, following 583 games and 2,541 plate appearances in the Minor Leagues. In comparison, Crawford is 19 with 112 games and 491 plate appearances in the Minor Leagues.

Rollins also remains a productive player. He entered Saturday with a .758 OPS, which ranked seventh out of 28 qualifying shortstops in baseball. He remains an elite defensive shortstop who is on the field nearly every day.

That counts for something.

“He’s played a tough position for as many years as he has and to have the success he’s had is special,” Chase Utley said. “He plays shortstop at this level on a daily basis. It’s a grind. He hits at the top of the order so he gets a lot of at-bats. He’s not a spring chicken anymore, but he keeps himself in good shape to go out there on a daily basis.”

Rollins is hopeful the team can get on a run, get back into contention and keep everybody together for another shot at postseason glory. If not, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. could start sending the team’s high-priced talent elsewhere.

Amaro could approach Rollins about a trade at some point.

“I think I do have a chance to finish my career here,” Rollins said. “I don’t make all of those decisions. I become a free agent again eventually, so the question will definitely be answered then. … If we can get on a roll here and put ourselves in contention, the division hasn’t gotten away from us at all yet, which is very fortunate. Unfortunately, we’ve been here before, but when we were we found a way to win, despite all the odds, so hopefully we have a little bit of that magic left and the young guns can start a new run and we can be the guys steering the ship.”

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