He’s coming off a year in which he set career highs in hitting (.296), home runs (30), RBI (94) slugging (.531), triples (20), runs (139) and converted 41 of 47 stolen base attempts.
Looking back, it is hard to imagine how any one else could have won the MVP trophy against those kind of numbers.
Still, Rollins says the number he is most focused on is “100” – as in, 100 wins.
"We can win 100 games,” Rollins said. “Look at what happened to us last year with all the injuries and all the different pitchers and the uncertainties and we wound up winning 89 games. There's a number of things that went wrong and we still found a way to win 89 games.
“Offensively, we haven't lost anything. I think we've actually taken a step forward. Pitching-wise, with Brett (Myers) being back in the rotation and (Brad) Lidge coming back to being the closer he was, we can seal the deal. That's a lot of the problems, lead in the 6th, by the 8th inning, we're down 3 or 4 runs and that makes it tough no matter how good an offense you have."
During a half-hour question-and-answer session, Rollins rapped with reporters on various subjects.
He dished out fashion advice: “My jeweler said you don't want to spend a lot of money on earrings so anybody trying to get something for their wife or something, don't spend a lot on the earrings because they're just an accessory. You might as well get cubic zirconium."
He listed the most stylish players in the league: “Big Papi (Boston’s David Ortiz) has great style. (Boston’s) Manny Ramirez probably has the best style. He's in his own category. I like C.C. (Sabathia, of the Indians) But that's kind of a homeboy thing, turning his hat to the side. Dontrelle (Willis)? He's a freak of nature.
Not a lot of people can do what he does. But I definitely like the flair
Manny has. He's just crazy.( Mets’ Jose) Reyes? Reyes has style too. He definitely has a lot of style."
But mostly, he talked about the overwhelming sense of optimism that has enveloped the Phillies clubhouse this preseason: “There isn't a team in this division or the National League that's better than us. I'm not saying on paper or anything that we're the best team, but we can play with anybody and that's the bottom line. You mention last year, the year prior '06 and '05, the Mets were the best team hands down. But in '07, I didn't feel that way anymore and I don't feel that way this year."
Which brings us back to Beltran’s remarks. Though Rollins exuded confidence, he also stopped short of making a guarantee.
And as for his counterpart in New York?
“I guess two things come to mind,” Rollins said. “One, there are four other teams in our division who are going to make sure that doesn't happen, and two, has anyone ever heard of plagiarism?”