TBOH Debate: Is Jimmy Rollins one of the five best Philadelphia Phillies players of all time?
By Mike Lacy
Image Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Every week, the writers of That Ball’s Outta Here debate the key issues facing the Philadelphia Phillies. Joining me this week are Spencer Bingol, Alex Cheremeteff, Emily Gruver, and Michael Lecke. We will discuss the new Phillies hit king, Jimmy Rollins
Now that he has the all-time hits record, should Jimmy Rollins be considered one of the five all-time greatest Phillies?
I don’t see Jimmy Rollins as quite a Top 5 all-time player. He has the hits record, he’s been a GREAT player, an MVP, and irreplaceable on the roster for the last 14 seasons. This being said, he’s not even the highest on the franchise leader boards on the current Phillies’ roster. Sorry for being a fanboy, but we know who that is.
Rollins’ isn’t moved down in rankings because of any glaring hole in his game – he’s a complete player. The meteoric heights of players ahead of him, as happens over 130 years, puts other players ahead of him.
At the end of the day, Rollins appears in my top ten, but outside of five. My personal list is: Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Pete Alexander, Robin Roberts, Chase Utley, Richie Ashburn, Ed Delahanty, Jimmy Rollins, Curt Schilling, Bobby Abreu.
Among position players, Jimmy Rollins is one of the top five all-time greatest Phillies. Arguably, the top five players in Phillies history are Mike Schmidt, Rollins, Richie Ashburn, Ed Delahanty, and Dick Allen.
Rollins’ numbers speak for themselves. A three-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove winner, an MVP award, over 400 doubles and stolen bases. Over 100 triples, and over 200 home runs.
When all is said and done, Rollins will be in the discussion as one of the best shortstops in baseball history.
August 10, 2012; Philadelphia, PA USA; Philadelphia Phillies hall of fame third baseman Mike Schmidt jokes with Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins (11) during pre-game ceremony before game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Yes, after that great of an accomplishment, I think he just made it in the top five.
I know this borders on blasphemy, and admittedly, I never saw Richie Ashburn play, but are we sure Rollins hasn’t had a better career than Ashburn?
I’m not sure comparing the numbers does any good because they played in such different eras. Ashburn was more of your traditional high on-base percentage leadoff guy, while Rollins made up for deficiencies in that area by supplying power. Both men also played strong defense at key positions.
But when you factor in longevity and team success, doesn’t that give Rollins an edge?
Anyway, it’s debatable right now, but I think when it’s all done with, Rollins will be considered a top-five Phillie.
There can be no doubt Jimmy is in the top ten. Narrowing it down to the top five is much harder. But the short answer is yes, Jimmy is a top five all-time Phillie.
Put together his offense, gold-glove defense and longevity reppin’ the ‘P’ and you have to fit him into the top five somewhere. The problem is who you leave out.
Also in the top five are Rich Ashburn and Robin Roberts from the Whiz Kids era, as well as Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton from the 80’s teams. This leaves out Cole Hamels and Chase Utley, both of whom are top 10 all-time Phillies greats. And going back even more, there’s Chuck Klein, who was an absolute beast and Ed Delahanty.
It’s really a toss up at five but Jimmy’s defense and durability give him the edge. Let’s not forget it was Jimmy who said “we’re the team to beat” and then backed it up with an MVP season.
As Jimmy goes, so go the Phillies. In time Cole Hamels will edge him out of his top 5 spot but for now I’m giving it to Jimmy, the everyday player.
Jun 14, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins (11) hits the ball in a game against the Chicago Cubs at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies won 7-4. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Do you think Rollins will be traded this season?
I think it’s a lot more likely that Rollins will be traded this season than it appeared only a couple of weeks ago. Since before the season, people were aware that the Phillies’ hits record might be a point at which Rollins waives his no-trade clause.
There were several factors beyond that bringing his trade status into question. Would he actually waive the trade clause if the time came? Would that time come, given the front office’s past hesitation to moving players? Would he even have value, rebounding from a weak 2013 season?
The answer to all three questions has appeared to be yes. Rollins has been baseball’s seventh-most valuable shortstop this season, in terms of fWAR. With the slight possibility of Alexei Ramirez, none of the players ahead of him are likely to move at the trade deadline, leaving Rollins as the best available option for teams (AKA the Detroit Tigers).
Additionally, Ruben Amaro and the front office appear firmly in sell mode as the deadline approaches. Ruben has publicly been commenting to the effect of “no one is off-limits, and we’ll eat money to receive prospects.” Again, the Detroit Tigers appear to be the logical trade partner for Rollins (and they are in desperate need of a closer…).
Finally, Rollins is surprisingly open to a trade, now that the record is his. The day he broke the record, he was quoted as responding to a trade question by saying: “If they blow everything up, then of course.”
Moving Rollins isn’t something to do with a smile on your face, as some local idiots believe it is. As with all of the veterans on the trade block, he’s been an outstanding player for this franchise, and a tough decision needs to be made to improve the long-term health of the team.
Jun 14, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins (11) waves to the fans after hitting a single to right in the fifth inning to become the all time franchise hit leader during a game against the Chicago Cubs at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
I do not think Rollins will be traded this season. The Phillies have the third highest payroll in the majors and ownership expects the team to compete for the playoffs. Whether that is ‘fools gold’ or not remains to be seen.
Rollins is from Oakland and the Athletics desperately need a shortstop. The duo of Nick Punto and Jed Lowrie doesn’t look very imposing to the opposing pitcher.
Bottom line is that I expect Rollins not only to finish this season for the Phillies, but reach the required number of plate appearances for his option to kick in for 2015.
Although it’s a huge possibility, I think Ruben Amaro Jr. is going to just keep the team as it is for yet another season. I don’t get it, but Amaro still doesn’t want to blow up the team yet.
Assuming the Phillies have no shot at contention next season, then they should trade him. Any contender who needs a good shortstop would love to have him, and the Phillies could probably get at least a decent return in exchange.
I would do this on the assumption that either Freddy Galvis or some relatively cheap free agent can fill in for a season. After that, the hope is that J.P. Crawford would be ready to take his spot as the next great Phillies shortstop.
Then again, despite the losing, Rollins has still seemed reluctant to waive his no-trade rights, so this might be a moot point.
I would be surprised if Jimmy is traded. He has final say because of his 10/5 veto rights. Although he said he’s willing to consider it, I think the difficulty in making everyone ‘win’ a trade involving Rollins will prove too difficult.
What do you think? Feel free to share your opinion in the comments section below.
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