Results tagged ‘ Jimmy Rollins ’

A Bottom Heavy Offense

Something (kind of) interesting happened last night at Citizens Bank Park.

Placido Polanco went 2 for 4 to raise his batting average to .254. The guy who was hitting .196 on Tuesday now has a higher batting average than Hunter Pence (.253), Shane Victorino (.241) and Jimmy Rollins (.216). That shows you how much those three have struggled lately, but it also shows you how quickly a couple good games this early in the season can spike a batting average.

Rollins, Pence and Victorino combined to go 0-for-12 in last night’s 5-1 loss to the Cubs. The rest of the lineup, excluding the pitcher’s spot, went 7-for-19.

Phillies No. 3 hitters are last in baseball with a .497 OPS. Their cleanup hitters are 19th with a .715 OPS. Rollins and Pence have primarily held those two spots, but a lack of production is a lineup-wide problem. The only two spots in the lineup, excluding the pitcher’s spot, that rank in the top half in baseball in OPS are No. 6 (13th with a .750 OPS) and No. 7 (fourth with a .865 OPS). Ty Wigginton, Laynce Nix and Carlos Ruiz have hit sixth in 12 of the team’s 20 games. Ruiz and Nix have hit seventh in 15 of the 20 games.

Nix (1.052), Wigginton (.875) and Ruiz (.796) lead the team in OPS among players with 20 or more at-bats.

Here is a ranking of the lineup’s most productive spots in the order this season, based on OPS:

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Pick up or Shake Up?

“Sometimes, there’s just no answers. We’re in that area right now where I don’t have any answers.” – Jimmy Rollins.

The Phillies came within one out from suffering their second shutout loss in four games (and their third shutout loss in eight games) in last night’s 5-1 loss to the Padres. After today’s series finale against the Padres, the Phillies play three games against the Diamondbacks in Phoenix and four games against the Cubs at home before hitting the road for six games against Atlanta and Washington.

The Phillies are in the middle of a stretch of 20 games in 21 days with 16 of those games on the road.

They are 7-8 this season, while the first-place Nationals are 12-4 and the second-place Braves are 10-5.

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Rollins Talks Thole Blunder

Jimmy Rollins could not believe his eyes.

In the top of the second inning in last night’s 5-2 loss to the Mets, R.A. Dickey executed a perfect sacrifice bunt to advance Josh Thole to second base with one out. Phillies first baseman Jim Thome tagged Dickey about halfway up the first-base line and nonchalantly tossed the ball back to Cliff Lee, who believed like everybody else at Citizens Bank Park the play had ended.

In fact, Rollins motioned for Thole that he did not need to slide as he reached second base, which is something he has done since he reached the big leagues whenever there is no play at the base.

“Nice hit,” Thole told Rollins as he reached second, referring to Rollins’ first-inning double.

“Thanks,” Rollins replied.

Then Thole inexplicably turned around and walked back to first base.

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The Hottest Hitter Is …

The Phillies had opportunities to score last night, but couldn’t come through in a 5-2 loss to the Mets.

The Phillies have scored two or fewer runs in four of their seven games.

You can make the argument right now that Freddy Galvis is the team’s hottest hitter. Since he started his career 0-for-12, he is hitting .416 (5-for-12) with two doubles, one home run and five RBIs. Hunter Pence is hitting .421 (8-for-19) with two doubles, one home run and three RBIs in his last five games. Jimmy Rollins is hitting .471 (8-for-17) with one double and one RBI. Galvis has more RBIs than Pence and more extra-base hits than Rollins.

The Phillies’ 2.86 runs per game average is 28th in baseball. Their 13 extra-base hits are 29th. Their .633 OPS is 24th.

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Jonathan Papelbon said he is going to choose a different song every time he enters the game at Citizens Bank Park. He entered to Alice in Chains’ “Man in the Box” in a non-save situation Monday. He entered to Marilyn Manson’s “Antichrist Superstar” in a save situation Thursday. Papelbon is trending toward scarier and scarier music. Hide your children!

Galvis, Jim Thome and Ty Wigginton still have not requested any walk-up music, but a couple players already have changed their tunes. John Mayberry Jr. chose “Cashin’ Out” by Cash Out. Laynce Nix dropped Avicii for “Gotta Have It” by Jay-Z and Kanye West. Brian Schneider has “Bangarang” by Skrillex and “Knock Knock” by Mac Miller.

I’m entering the press box these days to Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street.” It’s the hardest rocking song any of the beat writers have chosen.

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Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here. Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • April 26: Barnes & Noble in Marlton, NJ, 7 p.m.
  • April 29: Citizens Bank Park, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
  • May 10: Tredyfrrin Public Library in Stafford, PA, 7:30 p.m.
  • June 2: Citizens Bank Park, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Check out my Facebook page. Follow me on Twitter.

Don’t Look at Galvis, Look Elsewhere

Freddy Galvis started his big-league career 0-for-12, but with one swing he picked up one quarter of his team’s RBIs.

That’s how anemic the Phillies offense has been.

He has one hit and has knocked in two of his team’s eight runs.

Galvis has been getting a lot of attention since the season started. First, he is replacing Chase Utley. Second, he could not get a hit until the fourth game of the season. Third, the entire offense is struggling. All of a sudden a rookie second baseman who is keeping the position warm until Utley returns (whenever that is: May? June? July?) became the focal point of the offense. What are they going to do with this guy? They can’t continue to play him there! Why don’t they start Pete Orr or Ty Wigginton at second base? Can they make a trade? When is Utley coming back?!?!

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Small Ball, No Runs

So be honest, how nervous are you right now?

I’ve seen some truly awful Phillies starts over the past 10 years. The Phillies are 1-2. Yes, the offense has been dreadful. Yes, the bullpen has been more than suspect. But it’s just one series.

Relax … for now.

“It’s three games into the season,” Shane Victorino said. “There is no reason to sit here and … panic. Do we want to be 3-0? Absolutely. I don’t want to be 1-2, but we sit at 1-2 and that’s what it is.”

“Anytime you open the season, you always want to win the first series, you want to win the first game, you want to get hits, you want to make big pitches,” Jim Thome said. “I think the one things I’ve learned over the years is that it’s a long haul. And we have a very talented club, we have a very, very good club. … Any time you play the first series, everything is always magnified. That’s part of the game.”

That said, the offense certainly hasn’t looked capable of hitting anybody, which makes you wonder how they’re going to handle the Marlins (Anibal Sanchez, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle) this week at Citizens Bank Park. But I thought Charlie Manuel made a very interesting comment following today’s 5-4 loss to the Pirates.

“I don’t want our guys to think we can’t score,” he said. “I think that sometimes when we bunt in situations, we send a message. I’m an offensive guy. I’m here because I’m an offensive guy. I’m a true believer that you get better because of confidence and the manager has to show that. We’ve got guys who have been good hitters in the past. We have to get where we want to be. I believe we’re going to score runs. It’s a matter of getting guys hot.”

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Details of the Rollins Deal

Here are the specifics of Jimmy Rollins‘ new deal with the Phillies:

2012: $11 million
2013: $11 million
2014: $11 million
2015: Club option for $8 million. If not exercised, Rollins has a player option for $5 million.

The club option automatically vests for $11 million if Rollins has 600 plate appearances in 2014; or if he has 1,100 plate appearances in 2013-14 and (1) he is not the disabled list at the end of the 2014 season OR (2) if he is on the disabled list at the end of 2014, a mutually agreed upon doctor deems him available for the Opening Day 2015 roster. His salary increases by $1 million if he wins the MVP in the immediately preceding season ($500,000 if he finishes second or third). Other bonuses: $50,000 for All Star; $1 million for MVP ($500,000-2nd or 3rd; $250,000-4th or 5th); $100,000 for World Series MVP; $50,000 for League Championship Series MVP; $50,000 for Gold Glove; $50,000 for Silver Slugger.

Rollins Is A Happy Man

I talked on the phone a few minutes ago with Jimmy Rollins. Here is what he said about his three-year, $33 million contract with the Phillies, a lengthy negotiation process and more:

QUESTION: Are you happy this is finally over?
ROLLINS: Yes, I’m glad that it’s over. It’s good that it’s over for both parties. It’s an issue that’s been going on. Negotiations take time and both parties usually get a good idea where a finish line can be. It usually takes time to get there, but we got there.

QUESTION: Are you happy with the deal? You had asked for five years, and I also had heard you were unhappy with the pace of the negotiations.
ROLLINS: I never said that or even hinted toward that in any way. No, it’s not true. I wasn’t upset at the pace. I was glad it took a while because both sides were showing that they care. This is a business. There is a sports side of it and a business side of it, and the business side of it is always the most difficult part. Making sure that the numbers fit and the years fit and that both parties can be happy going forward is how business is. This is where we both sit and both parties feel comfortable going forward.

QUESTION: Do you feel you met the Phillies half way? You wanted five. They wanted three. But it sounds like the vesting option for the fourth year is easily attainable.
ROLLINS: That’s very accurate. The tough part is you’ve got to stick to your guns and they’ve got to stick to their guns. You negotiate. If I hadn’t started so high then we probably would have been looking at a two-year deal with a vesting option for three. People that understand business, they get it.

QUESTION: As long as you’re healthy you feel you will get that option?
ROLLINS: Exactly.

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Rollins, Phillies Agree to Three-Year Deal

Two sources confirmed an ESPN.com report today that Jimmy Rollins agreed to a three-year, $33 million contract with a vesting option for a fourth season. One source said the $11 million option is easily attainable, which likely means it does not require many plate appearances or games played to kick in.

“I see you all know by now,” Rollins said on his Twitter account @JimmyRollins11. “Gotta deal with me for 3 (4) more years!”

Rollins entered the offseason proclaiming he wanted a five-year contract or a four-year deal with a player option for a fifth season. But the market never materialized as the Brewers signed Alex Gonzalez and the Cardinals signed Rafael Furcal. Other teams that needed a shortstop like the San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves simply had no plans to offer Rollins the kind of money the Phillies offered.

In the end, the Phillies made the most sense: they offered Rollins the most money and years, and they provided him the best chance to win a World Series.

Report: Cardinals Progressing on Furcal

As the Phillies checked out of their rooms at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas on Thursday, the news Albert Pujols signed with the Angels indicated the Phillies could have more competition for Jimmy Rollins.

The Cardinals have holes at first base, second base and shortstop, and with Pujols on the Left Coast they could spend money on Rollins, complicating things for the Phillies.

But FOXSports.com reported today the Cardinals are progressing on a deal with shortstop Rafael Furcal. That follows news the Brewers signed Alex Gonzalez. If the Cardinals resign Furcal, Rollins’ two most likely suitors other than the Phillies would no longer need a shortstop.

It is believed the Phillies have offered Rollins a three-year contract. Rollins has been seeking a five-year deal. It is possible the Phillies could add a fourth year or a fourth-year option to keep Rollins. But unless there is a mystery team out there looking for a shortstop, it appears Rollins will not find a five-year contract. And with St. Louis potentially out of the picture, he might not find a team that is willing to offer more than the Phillies, either.

But Rollins’ agent is Dan Lozano, who got Pujols to leave St. Louis for Los Angeles. Anything is possible, certainly in an offseason that has seen Pujols leave St. Louis, Jose Reyes leave New York, Mark Buehrle leave Chicago and Prince Fielder expected to leave Milwaukee.

Rollins still could leave Philadelphia. The problem at the moment is finding a place where he would go.

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