Even with last week’s three day benching in the rear-view, talk about Jimmy Rollins’ future with the Phillies is becoming a hotter and hotter topic everyday.
Sunday night, CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reported that Rollins wouldn’t waive his no-trade clause, even if it meant a chance to join a World Series contender like the Detroit Tigers. Of course, Rollins didn’t say that because he is dying to remain with a Phillies team that seems destined to be mediocre at best, but rather because he only needs 60 more hits to become the Phillies all-time hit leader in hits.
Today, ESPN’s Buster Olney is reporting that if Rollins doesn’t step up his clubhouse-presence, the Phillies would prefer to move on from him.
But there is strong sentiment within the organization that the Phillies would be better off trading him and establishing a new tone with a new shortstop, according to sources.
However, sources indicate that some in influential positions in the organization want Rollins to be a leader by investing himself more thoroughly in daily work and setting a strong example for others. If Rollins isn’t going to do that, the sentiment of some is that the team would be better off moving him as soon as possible.
It’s hard to imagine that just a few weeks ago the signing of A.J. Burnett gave the Phillies fanbase some sort of hope entering the 2014 season. Sure, not many people thought the meant that the Phillies were destined for a parade down Broad Street, but at the very least, a rotation with Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Burnett at the top, looked like it would keep the Phillies in the race for a majority of the season.
From the looks of things now, Cole Hamels is destined for an injury-riddled season, and Cuban import Miguel Gonzalez isn’t going to be a factor in 2014. The Phillies offense has also been putrid through spring training, which normally doesn’t mean much, but given how poor they’ve been over the past two seasons, it isn’t an encouraging sign to see the offense struggle this much early in 2014.
Sunday night, Salisbury also asked Rollins if he would be open to being moved once he passes Mike Schmidt’s all-time hit mark.
“I don’t know,” he said. “If we’re in absolutely last place with nowhere to go and change is obviously on the horizon, then at that point I’d think about it. But anything short of a complete disaster, I’m wearing red and white pinstripes.”
If Spring training is any indication, 2014 may very well turn out to be a disaster for the Phillies. In that case, Rollins breaking the hits record may end up being one of the few highlights of the season. Even if that happens, moving Rollins and finally beginning a long overdue rebuilding process, might end up being the biggest highlight in the 2014 Phillies season.