Yesterday afternoon, Marlon Byrd, who returned to the Phillies on a two-year/$16 deal this offseason, spoke in-depth with CSN Philly’s Michael Barkann about returning to the Phillies, his role in the clubhouse, skeptics about how he will hold up his end of the contract, and much more.
On the surface, blaming swagger for the Phillies struggles over the past two seasons sounds like something out of a Young Money song, but it actually makes complete sense. When Jimmy Rollins had swag, and was calling the Phillies “the team to beat”, or predicting 100 win seasons, the Phillies were winning division titles and having constant champagne celebrations as playoff series wins became the norm for a few seasons. When someone of the caliber of Rollins shows that he is confident, the rest of the team feeds off of it.
A combination of injuries, aging, and complacency have crept into the Phils’ clubhouse the last few seasons, and you couldn’t find a better example of those three things than Jimmy Rollins. Rollins, now 35, has certainly declined due to the aging process, but his body language just seemed to be off last year. He batted .252 with six homeruns and 39 RBI’s, and it isn’t like he missed time, because he played 160 games. He just didn’t really look like he cared anymore, and I’m not someone who just throws out accusations like that, but that is the impression I got.
Even should Rollins get his swagger back in 2014, it’s fair to wonder whether a healthy Phillies team (which would be a lot to ask) has enough “swagger” or talent, to compete in 2014.
At the very least, Byrd, sounds like he is motivated to prove his detractors, me included, wrong, which should be a positive time as we close in on pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring training.