Jimmy Rollins seems on-board with Phillies pursuing Yasmany Tomas


Yesterday evening, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki posted an interview with Jimmy Rolllins, where he discussed everything from Rollins’ opinion on his 2014 season to his willingness to potentially be moved by the club he has spent his entire career with this offseason.

Rollins was also asked about the Phillies’, who currently sit at 72-86, chances of competing in 2015. Rollins was rather blunt in his answer, admitting that while he gets to help “write the story”, he doesn’t have the confidence in the 2015 Phillies that he did in the late-2000s version of the club.

Those of us who don’t live in fantasy land understand that Rollins could play four or five more seasons with the club–he won’t–and the team won’t compete, barring a massive team overhaul and quite a bit of luck.

One name that the Phillies are taking a look at to potentially help spark a short-term turnaround is Cuban free-agent Yasmany Tomas. The Phillies worked out the 23 year-old outfielder privately Monday in the Dominican Republic, per Zolecki, becoming the first team to do so. The massive outfielder, which seems fit the description of all Cuban outfielders, is expected to have elite power, and might present the Phillies with their best chance to change their fortunes within the next few seasons.

All that said, the bidding for Tomas is expected to be around $100 million, with the Phillies just the first in a long line of teams that have worked out or will work the slugger out. With that considered the pre-private workout price, one can only imagine that the bidding could end up closer to $120 million, should Tomas be deemed to be a franchise-changing player.

When asked on the subject of Tomas, Jimmy Rollins seemed keen on the idea of the Phillies spending money to return to contention, which he knows the organization has.

"“We have enough money to (compete),” Rollins said. “So you can’t say we don’t we have the money to make improvements in the places that need to be improved, or where they can make them, whichever is the priority. We’re in a big market, so. A big market payroll. So you have to go out there and make it happen.”"

Technically, that quote could be applied to the Phillies making a run at any sort of free-agent(s), except this year’s free-agent class isn’t exactly stocked with middle of the order power hitters. Certainly not ones that are under 25 years old.

With TV revenue having given small-market teams the ability to lock up their homegrown big bats, the idea that the Phillies will be able to replenish their team through free-agency is flawed. This isn’t 2001, the Phillies became a big market team at a time when being a big market team doesn’t give you much more than the ability to lock up your own stars and overpay for the ones that other teams decide they don’t want to deal with anymore (see: Jonathan Papelbon).

I’ll be the first to admit, a majority of what I’ve seen out of Tomas has been off of YouTube and MLB.com clips. I’m the furthest thing from an international prospect expert, and if the Phillies decide that Tomas isn’t worthy of a $100 plus pricetag and don’t sign him, props to them. The last thing the organization needs is another $100 million disaster. But at some point, something needs to give.

If Tomas is worth $100 million, it might be in the Phillies’ best interests to give him $110 or $120 million if the bidding requires that they do so. They have no superstar type talents coming thought their system, and to pass on a chance to sign someone who may be that (the scouting department has to make that determination) and is under 25 years old, wouldn’t be in the best interests of the organization.

It’s also worth noting that the idea that the Phillies shouldn’t sign Tomas even if he could be a star just because of the fact that one player isn’t going to change their franchises’ fortunes, is foolish. To begin to build a team, you need to find players that are going to be mainstays on a team that you believe can consistently be a playoff caliber team. Tomas appears to be that, so signing him would give you one of, you hope, your cornerstone pieces.

This isn’t an exact science, obviously. But the Phillies’ inability to get ahead of the curve is what has landed them in the predicament that they are in now. If Tomas turns out to be a superstar before the Phillies are relevant again, that’s still better than continuing to be the completely irrelevant team that the Phillies have been for the last few seasons. In that scenario, you trade Tomas and continue to replenish your farm system, which is still a win for the team and the future.

So with the rare chance to sign someone this young, with All-Star caliber talent looming, I guess we’ll see how committed the Phillies are to trying to make sure that they don’t spend the next five years in the NL East cellar–which looking around the division, they easily could–based off their pursuit of Tomas.