Is a 32-year-old shortstop someone your team should invest five years into? That is the question Phillies fans will be asking this off-season as team-leader Jimmy Rollins becomes a free agent.
Much has been made about Jimmy’s interest in going back to the West Coast (San Francisco) where he grew up and finishing his career, but don’t forget how respected Rollins is by the entire Phillies organization. He has been in Philadelphia during some of the bad years, and he was the voice of the team and the spark plug to a World Championship engine in 2008. His proclamation that the Phillies were “the team to beat in the National League East” in 2007 is viewed by many Philadelphians as the turning point for a historically bad franchise. After the proclamation, Rollins went on to win the 2007 MVP award and led the Phillies into the playoffs for the first time in over a decade.
I know this was all in the past, but, don’t get me wrong, Rollins is still a top-tier shortstop. His offensive production has decreased and his body is obviously breaking down in the last few years, but he is still a key part of the Phillies offense at the lead-off spot, and he is one of the top defensive shortstops in the National League. Add to that the fact there may not be many better options at shortstop on the free-agent market and I think the Phillies may have to look at his re-signing as a priority — unless they view their top prospect at shortstop, Freddy Galvis, as being ready to be a starter in the big leagues.
Rollins has said in the past there will not be a “hometown discount” given to the Phillies when it’s time to sign, so it’s very likely the Phils will have to dig deep, once again, this off-season in order to keep their leader happy. This team has a chance to make a nice run over the next five to 10 years, and it would be sad to see someone who has been a constant face not be around if any more World Series are to be won.
For now, Phillies fans can sit back and enjoy this 2011 playoff run, but keep in mind there’s a chance this may be the last time you see of JRoll in the Phillies pinstripes. It’s time for Ruben Amaro Jr. to put that Stanford University degree to use again and find a way to get this deal done.