Results tagged ‘ Jimmy Rollins ’

The Rollins Drama

Rollins: We'll Win 100 GamesIs this just the beginning of the Jimmy Rollins drama?

ESPN’s Buster Olney had a very interesting tweet and story today about Rollins, who was benched three consecutive games last week because Ryne Sandberg had a problem with him:

Olney then noted, “Jimmy Rollins, of course, cannot be traded without his consent, because he has 10-5 rights.”

Yes, there are folks who have grown tired of Rollins. But then the Phillies also signed him to a three-year, $33 million extension following the 2011 season, despite no evidence any other team in baseball offered him more than a one-year deal. Rollins’ deal includes an easily attainable club option for 2015, which essentially makes this a four-year, $44 million contract. The Phillies handed him this contract, despite knowing his shortcomings, knowing they had Freddy Galvis waiting in the wings and knowing Rollins’ production had declined the previous three seasons. His .720 OPS from 2009-11 ranked 144th out of 181 qualifying players, and 14th out of 25 qualifying shortstops.

They committed big money to him anyway.

Two important things to remember here:

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Rollins Comments on Ryno’s No Comment

Jimmy RollinsJimmy Rollins spoke to reporters this morning following Ryne Sandberg’s interesting “no comment” yesterday, when asked about the positivity and energy he has brought this spring. Rollins has not played since Monday. He was in Tuesday’s lineup, but was scratched that morning. He did not play yesterday and he is not in the lineup today.

Rollins is healthy.

Here is some of what he said this morning:

Q: Why do you think you’re not in the lineup today? It’s unusual for a starter.
A: Yeah, I don’t know. You’ll have to go ask the manager. I don’t write the lineup.

Q: Do you think it’s unusual, though?
A: Oh, it is unusual. Yes, but I’m not going to try to second guess or predict or come up with a reason why.

Q: So yesterday Sandberg is asked about Freddy Galvis. He says he loves his positivity and energy. The next question is how has Jimmy been in that regard this spring? He gives a no comment. What do you make of that? Does that bother you?
A: Well, everyone is allowed to have their own opinion. It doesn’t make it right, but he’s the manager so he gets to have the last say.

Q: What’s your relationship with Ryne so far?
A: It’s good. We talk. Except for the last two days we talk every day. We talk about baseball behind the cage when we’re doing our hitting drills. I let people challenge me throughout situations and have fun. No one has a problem with that.

Q: When would you want to talk with Ryno about this?
A: Whenever he comes to me.

Q: Do you think there’s a method to this? Do you think he’s trying to light a fire under you or something?
A: I don’t know. I don’t know. There’s no fire that needs to be lit, though. Never has been, especially when things count.

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Rollins Sits, Galvis Positively Plays

Jimmy RollinsRyne Sandberg has been singing Freddy Galvis’ praises since the offseason, when he essentially guaranteed he would make the team as a utility infielder.

Galvis went 1-for-2 with a triple, walk and RBI in today’s 6-5 victory over the Orioles in a Grapefruit League game at Ed Smith Stadium. Galvis has started at shortstop the past two Grapefruit League games, and is scheduled to start there a third consecutive game tomorrow against the Yankees at Bright House Field. Asked before the game about Rollins’ string of absences, Ruben Amaro Jr. said he is unaware of any health issues.

So is everything OK with Rollins or is he just getting a break?

“No, he’s fine,” Sandberg said.

Asked if Galvis could push Rollins for playing time this season, Sandberg said, “Freddy’s a guy that will get playing time at various positions. He’s a guy that I like in the lineup. I feel good about what he brings to the table. The biggest thing I like is his energy and his positive influence. His positive influence on everybody that’s around him.”

And what he has thought about Rollins in that regard this spring?

“No comment,” Sandberg said.

Team to Beat? Not Anymore

Jimmy Rollins, Roy HalladayJimmy Rollins hasn’t been afraid to speak his mind as long as I’ve known him.

He memorably called the Phillies the team to beat in the National League East in 2007. He even maintained they were the best team in the division last season, despite an 81-81 finish, 17 games behind the first-place Nationals and 14 games behind the second-place Braves.

“With us being healthy, you know, they’re a second-place team,” Rollins said about the Nationals. “But we weren’t.”

But asked following yesterday’s 4-3 loss to the Mets if he still felt the Phillies were the best team in the NL East when healthy, Rollins said, “There’s a lot of talented teams in the division. The team that we had in the past definitely was. The team going forward, we’ll figure that out. There are a bunch of new pieces. We haven’t had that around here for a long time. I’m excited about them. They’re good, young players. Big eyed. A lot of hopes and wishes, it’s our part to make sure they come true. It’s fun seeing the energy and excitement every single day. The world is still theirs and it’s at hand. They can change it. I was that guy. Now it’s up to me, Chase (Utley) and Ryan (Howard) to make sure they do change it.”

The Phillies already have lost 84 games with seven games remaining. Anything can happen next year, but as the Phillies get further and further removed from their 102-win season in 2011, it gets harder and harder to picture them winning 90 games and competing for a championship.

Especially because at this moment you pretty much know how this team is going to look next season. The everyday lineup is almost set, although the Phillies have to resign Carlos Ruiz or find somebody to replace him. They also have to decide if Darin Ruf is going to be the other right-handed bat in the lineup. The rotation has plenty of ‘ifs’ behind Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee. The bullpen has shown some promise lately, but the Phillies were feeling the same way about their bullpen at the end of last season.

The Phillies entered this season with countless ifs. If the majority of those ifs turned out OK, they could have competed for a postseason berth. But very few did. So is there any reason to think those countless ifs will be any easier to achieve next season?

Bowa Talks Ryno, Coaching for Ryno and Rollins

bowa and rollinsLarry Bowa had some interesting things to say Wednesday when he stopped by the ballpark.

First, he explained why Ryne Sandberg will be a good manager.

Second, he talked about possibly taking a job on Sandberg’s coaching staff.

But then he talked about Jimmy Rollins, whose .666 OPS is the lowest of his 14-year career. Bowa is a big Rollins fan. The two have a good relationship. One of my favorite Rollins-Bowa stories happened in the clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park in 2004. Bowa was walking through the clubhouse past Rollins’ locker, when Rollins’ blurted, “Hey, Bo, you’ve got to pimp that walk. Drag that back leg.” Bowa didn’t miss a beat and responded, “I’d like to see you drag that back leg across home plate every once in a while.” Both men laughed.

“Jimmy still has a lot of baseball left in him,” Bowa said Wednesday. “You have to keep the volume up. Sometimes he likes to lower the volume. The volume is definitely turned back up (recently). I can see a big difference.”

Rollins is hitting .385 (15-for-39) with two doubles, one home run, two RBIs, seven walks, three stolen bases and a .991 OPS in his last 11 games. It’s a small sample size, but it’s something.

“I don’t even know if they talk,” Bowa said about Rollins and Sandberg, “but I see a difference in the way Jimmy has played lately. Ryno hasn’t said a word whether he’s talked to him, but I just watching Jimmy and see a difference in Jimmy. … “(Rollins is) lucky. You don’t play on winning teams every year. To me, the mark of a good player is – what, they are 18 games out? – you still have to post up. It’s hard to play like that, but you still have to do it. It’s easy to play when everything is going good. He’s been very lucky. Even when I was here, we were .500 or above. It’s fun to play like that. When you’re 18 games out, you have to kick it in, and it’s hard sometimes.”

If There’s A Bottom, This Has To Be It

Jake DiekmanThe Phillies didn’t need to say much in the visitors clubhouse following today’s 12-4 loss to the Tigers.

A few just offered a look.

It’s that look when the eyes open wide for a split second like, “Wow, can you believe that just happened?”

It did. The Phillies went 1-8 on the road against the Mets, Cardinals and Tigers. Their eight-game losing streak is their longest since an eight-game skid in Sept. 2011. It is their worst road trip of nine or more games since July 28-Aug. 6, 1995, when they went 1-8 against the Cubs, Braves and Reds.

“I’ve seen a lot, but I haven’t seen that,” said Jimmy Rollins, who has been with the team since 2000. “That was embarrassing. … If there’s a bottom, this has to be it. I can’t imagine things getting worse than they have this past week, culminating the way they did today.”

Rollins also offered his reasons for optimism. Read the above link for that. But Jonathan Papelbon isn’t nearly as cheery. He spoke a couple times yesterday, expressing his frustrations about the losing and the organization. He said if things don’t improve changes need to be made from top to bottom. I asked if Papelbon wants to be traded. He said no, he wants to remain in Philadelphia. But then he said if things continue this way, he doesn’t want to stick around. He said who would? You wonder what is going to happen there. I think both parties would welcome a trade, but it’s easier said than done. There doesn’t appear to be much of a market for Papelbon, and that could become a problem if the team keeps losing.

Michael Young said he hasn’t heard anything yet about a potential trade. And even though Rollins hasn’t been rumored to be traded, he said he would reject any proposals for now.

It was an interesting trip at the very least. It is hard to imagine the Phillies buying in any true capacity before Wednesday’s 4 p.m. deadline (i.e. giving up a top prospect to fill a void in the bullpen or outfield). It wouldn’t make much sense. But I’m just not sure who they can trade to retool for the future. I’m not sure how much value Young has. It sounds like Chase Utley isn’t going anywhere. And while the Phillies would trade Cliff Lee, I wonder what they can get in return. They already traded him once and didn’t get much back.

Papelbon mentioned the Red Sox from 2011. Theo Epstein and Terry Francona both left the organization following a 7-20 finish. They also ditched players like Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Papelbon. The Red Sox struggled last season, but they are now first in the American League East with the second-best record in baseball. Ruben Amaro Jr. has his work cut out for him, but if he can make the right moves the Phillies could bounce back relatively quickly. But that’s easier said than done, and the last couple years nothing has been easy.

Last Month for the Final Five?

Phillies Player of the '00s: RollinsChase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels and Carlos Ruiz are the only remaining players from the 2008 World Series championship roster, and this could be their final month together.

Click here to read what some of them said about it.

The Phillies are reluctant to trade Utley. I’m sure they would love him back next year. But you have to wonder if Utley, who will become a free agent after the season, will want to come back? Consider for a second if the Phillies trade Cliff Lee or Jonathan Papelbon or both. Say they trade Ruiz, etc. Will Utley believe this team can win in the near future? That is something the Phillies will have to consider as they approach the trade deadline. On the other hand, the Phillies are much more willing to trade Rollins. (You have to wonder how his comments Sunday that he wasn’t disappointed at all with their 1-3 series against the Dodgers played in the clubhouse and front office.) But Rollins isn’t nearly as easy to trade as Utley. Utley is a free agent after the season. He still is very productive offensively, when healthy. Rollins’ productive has dropped this season, and he has $22 million remaining on his deal, if his 2015 option automatically vests based on plate appearances.

If either is traded, however, it will signal a clear and significant change within the organization and a considerable culture shift within the clubhouse.

Phillies Remaining Patient with Young

Delmon YoungDelmon Young enters tonight’s game against the Mets hitting .222 with six doubles, six home runs, 17 RBIs and a .677 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 148 plate appearances.

He has not been the consistent right-handed run producer the Phillies had hoped and he is a “below-average defender” in right field, according to the Phillies, but they said yesterday they are sticking with him for a couple reasons:

1. He is a slow starter. He had his best season with the Twins in 2010, when he hit .298 with 46 doubles, one triple, 21 home runs, 112 RBIs and an .826 OPS. Through his first 125 plate appearances that year, Young hit .250 with four homers, 16 RBIs and a .742 OPS. Last season with the Tigers, Young hit .267 with 27 doubles, one triple, 18 homers, 74 RBIs and a .707 OPS. Through 126 plate appearances, he hit just .226 with a .599 OPS.

Here is a look at his OPS by months over his career:

  • March/April: .645
  • May: .673
  • June: .744
  • July : .862
  • August: .741
  • September/October: .760

2. “We don’t have a suitable replacement for him,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. John Mayberry Jr. is hitting .256 with 12 doubles, one triple, five home runs, 18 RBIs and a .752 OPS in 168 plate appearances. He regularly replaces Young in right field late in games. Certainly an argument can be made the Phillies should go with Mayberry in right because he is producing better offensively and is an upgrade defensively, but the Phillies believe Young’s upside — a American League Championship Series MVP Award in 2012, etc. — has earned him a longer look. Mayberry had a chance to earn an everyday job last season, but failed. You wonder if that plays into their thinking. In other words, the Phillies know what Mayberry offers and he has not shown the ability to produce consistently over an extended period of time. With everything as it is, the Phillies seem willing to roll the dice that Young can recapture some of his 2010 magic.

What about Darin Ruf? He is hitting .270 with 18 doubles, seven homers, 36 RBIs and a .778 OPS in 285 plate appearances in Triple-A. I think if Ruf were producing more in Triple A — although he is showing signs of heating up with a 1.055 OPS in his last 12 games — the Phillies would be more eager to bring him up, but he hasn’t so they’ll continue to give Young chances.

“He’s a much better hitter than he’s shown so far,” Amaro said of Young, “but at some point he’s going to have to start providing some offense and proving he can do some things for us or we’re going to have to see if there are other ways to improve the club. But right now we’re going to remain patient with him. And like I said, right now we don’t have a real suitable replacement.”

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MLB.com’s Stephen Pianovich visited Jimmy Rollins‘ charity event last night. Rollins offered some of his thoughts on the team’s chances going forward.

Rollins Hurting, Brown Moves Up

Jimmy RollinsCharlie Manuel has said Domonic Brown’s play will tell him when he is ready to move up in the Phillies lineup.

He moved Brown into the third spot today against the Brewers at Citizens Bank Park, but not because Brown’s play dictated it. Manuel said Brown, who leads the National League with 15 home runs, hit third because Jimmy Rollins could not play after fouling consecutive pitches off his right foot last night.

“His foot is sore,” Manuel said. “And if you look, gosh darn, somebody has to hit third, somebody has to hit fourth, somebody has to hit fifth. I figured because Domonic is smoking ‘em, I was going to stick him third. That’s why he’s hitting third. But I’m not saying where Domonic will hit (in the future) because he is going to tell me.”

Brown hit .303 (33-for-109) with four doubles, one triple, 12 home runs and a .991 OPS in May, although he interestingly did not walk once. He has homered seven times in the past seven games, and four in the past two.

“He’s hitting third today because it’s the best middle of the lineup we could have with Domonic, Howie (Ryan Howard) and Delmon Young hitting three, four, five,” Manuel said.

Manuel said Rollins’ foot is not fractured, but is “real sore.” He said it is day-to-day, and there is a chance he could play tomorrow.

The Big Red Machine

Cliff LeeThe Phillies open a three-game series tonight against the Reds at Citizens Bank Park.

The Reds swept the Phillies in Cincinnati last month.

A few notes before the series opener:

  • The Phillies finally optioned left-hander Raul Valdes to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He was 1-0 with a 7.65 ERA in 10 appearances. Right-hander B.J. Rosenberg takes his place. He was 1-3 with a 4.30 ERA in seven starts in Triple-A. I’m not sure why he got the nod over Lehigh Valley relievers like Joe Savery (3.00 ERA in 12 appearances), Mike Stutes (3.86 ERA in 17 appearances) and Cesar Jimenez (3.20 ERA in 10 appearances), but I’m guessing it’s because he has a power arm and gives the bullpen length. But Rosenberg has 24 strikeouts with 20 walks in 37 2/3 innings. But clearly something needed to be done to shake up the bullpen. The middle relievers have struggled tremendously. If you’re asking about Chad Durbin (7.30 ERA in 12 appearances), I think he gets a longer leash because of his contract (one-year, $1.1 million, plus a club option for 2014), plus the Phillies considered him a valuable asset in mentoring some of the younger arms in the bullpen.
  • The Phillies called Roy Halladay‘s right shoulder successful, but he faces long odds to pitch successfully again.
  • In case you missed it yesterday, Jimmy Rollins spoke openly and honestly about the reality facing the Phillies: They better get this thing turned around or the front office might blow it up.
  • Reds left-hander Tony Cingrani is looking forward to facing Cliff Lee tonight. “He’s why I run off and on the field, because Cliff Lee did that when I was growing up,” he said. “I also like how he uses his fastball.” Cingrani is 2-0 with a 2.89 ERA in five starts. He has dominated left-handed hitters, who have just a .554 OPS against him. Chase Utley is hitting .158 with a .554 OPS against lefties this season. Ryan Howard is hitting .190 with a .590 OPS against them.
  • The Phillies have hit .275 with a .331 on-base percentage and .395 slugging percentage in their last nine games, although they are averaging only 3.9 runs in those games. They were hitting .237 with a .296 on-base percentage and .374 slugging percentage in their first 32 games. It is far too early to say the Phillies are turning around their fortunes, but I guess it’s a step in the right direction. Still, they could use some power somewhere. Too many singles, not enough extra-base hits to score runs.
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