Within the next week or two, Jimmy Rollins will pass Mike Schmidt and become the Phillies new all-time hit leader. Within the next month or two, Rollins 13 plus year stint in Philadelphia could come to a conclusion.
Speaking to 97.5 The Fanatic’s Mike Missanelli this afternoon (listen here), CSN Philly’s Phillies’ insider Jim Salisbury says that once Rollins breaks the team hit record, his previous unwillingness to be traded may change.
“I have spoken to Jimmy and he said once he breaks the hits record he’d maybe waive his no-trade clause.”
(It is worth noting that Salisbury repeated maybe two or three times after making this statement.)
Rollins doesn’t have a traditional no-trade clause in his deal, but because he has been in the organization for longer than five years and has over 10 years of MLB service time, he is granted a no-trade clause under the MLB’s 10 and 5 rights rule.
A year ago this conversation would have been a waste of our time because no one would have had interest in a mid-30’s shortstop who had become a below-average hitter. However, under the Ryne Sandberg–Larry Bowa regime, Rollins already has as many homeruns as last season (six), is still a base-stealing threat (has swiped seven bags in nine attempts), and remains an elite fielder. In a league where shortstops are at a premium, teams will at least pickup the phone on any call involving Rollins.
The issue with Rollins, and you’ll notice this theme with the entire core of the team, is that he make a hefty sum of money. Probably more than he is worth. If Rollins was just a rental player, then a contending team, like the Tigers, could bite the bullet for a few months in pursuit of a championship. The problem is that after that, the team is likely stuck with Rollins for another year at $11 million. Assuming he gets to 500 plate appearances this season, which he has 12 of the last 13 seasons, then Rollins $11 million option for 2015 will vest. Rollins may also decide that he isn’t willing to waive his no-trade clause unless a team guarantees his 2015 option.
My best guess is that Rollins does ultimately get moved, but that it won’t be for much of a return. The key in any Rollins trade is trying to avoid having to pick up a majority of the money that he is owed for next season. If a contender needs help paying him for the rest of 2013, then by all means, go ahead. But part of not getting much of a return would be that you get some cap space free next season to address the many other issues that this team has. Paying three or four million towards Rollins next year would be one thing, but they can’t pay six or seven million. At that price, they might as well keep him.
Giving Freddy Galvis and/or Cesar Hernandez a chance to play shortstop everyday might also be a nice outcome to a potential Rollins trade, but given how both have performed with the big club this season, I’m not holding my breath.