Thursday, December 11, 2014

Goodbye, J-Roll

In the time that Derek Jeter was the primary shortstop for the Yankees (1996-2014), most of the 29 other MLB teams struggled to have a consistent shortstop. The Astros were the worst with 11. The Yankees' arch-rival - Red Sox - had seven after Garciaparra, but may be stable again with the emergence of Xander Bogaerts. Cleveland had three in that span. And Philadelphia also had three: Kevin Stocker (1996 & 1997), Desi Relaford (1998-2000) and finally, fifteen (14) seasons of our 2nd round (#46) pick in the 1996 MLB First-Year Player Draft, Jimmy Rollins (2001-2014; a Sept. call-up in 2000).

Rollins' 2001 campaign was awesome: 158 games, 706 plate appearances with a .274 AVG in 656 ABs (180 H), 46 SB (54 tries for 85.2% success) & 14 HRs to help generate 97 total runs scored, 54 RBIs, .275/.323/.419 slash line (AVG/OBP/SLG) for a .743 OPS. Awesome numbers that led to 3rd place in ROY voting that year. He's been healthy most of the time: 150+ games in 10 seasons and 135-149 games in 3 seasons. The only major fluke: an injury-riddled 2010 in which he only played 88 games. In his 14 full seasons plus Sept. 2000, he appeared in 2,090 games and is the Phillies All-Time Hits Leader with just over 2,300 hits... 479 doubles, 111 triples, and 216 HRs. He stole 453 bases in 548 attempts (82.7% success rate, 32/year) scored 1,325 times and drove in 887 runners. His Phillies career slash line: .267/.327/.424 for a .751 OPS.

His awards as a Phillie include 2007 MVP & Silver Slugger, 4 Gold Gloves ('07-'09, '12), three All-Star appearances (2001, 2002, & 2005) & a 2009 trip to the World Baseball Classic, five NL East titles (2007-2011), two NL pennants (2008 & 2009), and, of course, the 2008 World Championship.

Off the field, Phillies fans largely loved him, but there would be controversial comments/ issues. This was especially true as he hit lots of lazy pop-ups and barely ran out some. He was a leader with not only his bat & glove, but with his mouth, boldly calling the Phillies the "Team to Beat in the NL East" in 2007.

How do we grade the Oakland native's tenure as a Phillie? Let's give him an A-. He did what he had to do to bounce back after every (rare) down year, led the Phillies in their glory years in more ways than one, stuck with them through the rough times, and said most of the right things. We wish you luck with the Dodgers (except when facing the Phils, of course... hahaha!), and thank you for the memories, J-Roll!



Cuban OF Y. Tomas: The Phillies passed on him, who signed for 4-6 years and $45.7MM-$68.5MM. This was probably a mistake in terms of the Phils' offensive future, but he's not very athletic nor has he been tested against ML-caliber pitching. We shall see how he fairs with the D'Backs.

Winter Meetings News:
  1. Trades: Bastardo traded to the Pirates for a mid-level rotation prospect. Phillies continue to listen to offers for others. Rube wants to trade Howard & Papelbon; desires to upgrade the outfield by shopping Byrd (who will net a similar return to Bastardo), Revere and Brown; and now that Lester signed with the Cubs, Hamels rumors will heat up, particularly to the Dodgers & Red Sox.
  2. Rotation: Cliff Lee is on-schedule with his rehab (left flexor tendon issue) & expects to be ready for Spring Training. Miguel Gonzalez, entering the 2nd year of a 3-YR/ $12MM deal signed in late-Summer 2013, hopes to audition for a back-end starter job. He appeared in the 'pen this year.
  3. Sandberg is "anxious" to see how Rube & the front office execute a rebuild. He also says that he's willing to try many of his players at different positions, something he ruled out a few months ago.
  4. The Meetings conclude today with the Rule 5 Draft. The Phillies expect to used BOTH of their picks in the ML round (an arrangement stemming from the Cubs' 2011 selection not playing much in 2012) and none during the minor league portion: details via The Phillies protected three prospects this year & lost three prospects in the minor league portion. have two open spots on the 40-man

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