A trade always seemed possible, but in the back of Phillies fans’ heads, they never really believed it could happen. Early this morning, news broke that shortstop Jimmy Rollins would accept a trade to the Dodgers if the opportunity came. Fast-forward eight hours and the deal is done. Just like that, an era of Phillies baseball has ended.
Don’t get me wrong. This trade needed to happen. The Phillies roster has become a retirement home filled with players — who carried the club during a major period in franchise history — the team will not let go of. By sending Jimmy Rollins packing, the Phillies front office has all but announced it is officially rebuilding. And much like the basketball counterpart in the City of Brotherly Love, the team may be on the verge of some horrible seasons before it even dreams about the MLB playoffs.
It is sad to see Jimmy Rollins go. He was the vocal leader of the only World Series the Phillies have won since 1980. His proclamation that “the Phillies are the team to beat” signified a confidence that most Phillies teams had lacked in the past, and when it came to backing up what he said, he did not disappoint. Rollins was a complete player. He finishes his Phillies career as the team’s all-time hits leader. While his often gold-glove defense has been overlooked for a majority of his career, most Phillies fans would say his presence at shortstop makes any team better.
Now the Phillies must look to the future and use stopgaps until younger players are ready to play. The little man leaves a big hole to fill, hopefully, the front office has some tricks up their sleeves in order to make next season at least watchable.