Wednesday, October 1, 2014
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State of the Phillies: shortstop

State of the Phillies: shortstop

Jimmy Rollins hit 23 home runs and converted 30-of-35 stolen base attempts in 2012. (Steven M. Falk/Staff file photo)
Jimmy Rollins hit 23 home runs and converted 30-of-35 stolen base attempts in 2012. (Steven M. Falk/Staff file photo)

I. 2012 production, Phillies shortstops (NL rank out of 16 teams in parentheses)

AVG: .244 (10)

OBP: .309 (9)

SLG: .413 (6)

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OPS: .722 (6)

HR: 23 (3)

RBI: 68 (5)

RS: 102 (1)

BREAKDOWN: Evaluating Rollins is always a complicated task because of the varying perceptions that surround him. He has never reached base as often as an ideal leadoff hitter, and his contact numbers are not what they were during his prime (his 96 strikeouts this season were the most since he 24 years old). And Charlie Manuel expressed dissatisfaction with his hustle on the base paths on a couple of occasions this season, which has been an issue at various points in Rollins' career. That being said, his .250/.316/.427 line in 2012 was actually fairly close to the National League average for the leadoff spot (.257/.319/.382). He also hit 23 home runs and converted 30-of-35 stolen base attempts. And he continues to provide excellent defense. While there is certainly an argument to be made that Rollins is better suited to hit fifth, sixth or seventh now that power has become the most attractive part of his game, there is no question that he is still an above average offensive shortstop (more on that below). And his defense remains strong, although quantifying just how strong is difficult given the uncertainty of current advanced metrics

II. Future salary commitments (luxury tax threshold $178 million in 2013, increases to $189 million in 2014)

2012: 11.0 million, 5.34 percent of luxury tax threshold (Jimmy Rollins, 34 years old)

2013: 11.0 million, 5.34 percent of luxury tax threshold (Jimmy Rollins, 35 years old)

2014: 11.0 million, 5.03 percent of luxury tax threshold (Jimmy Rollins, 36 years old)

2015: 5.0 million, 5.03 percent of luxury tax threshold (Jimmy Rollins, 37 years old)

FLEXIBILITY: Rollins name started popping up in rumors a week or so before the trade deadline, which gave the impression that the Phillies were gauging interest in him. Maybe they would be open to trading the veteran just one year after signing him to a guaranteed $38 million over three years, but Rollins has 10-and-5 rights, which means he to can veto any trade and opt to remain with the Phillies if that is his preference. Whatever the case, it is really hard to see them trading Rollins and making their infield weaker when they already have a void at third base and Chase Utley's knees to worry about at second.

III. 2013 Organizational Depth Chart

 

  1. Jimmy Rollins, 34, $9.5 million average annual value through 2015 
  2. Freddy Galvis, 23, pre-Arb (1.000 service time) under club control through at least 2017.
  3. Roman Quinn, 19, short-season Class A Williamsport 

 

BREAKDOWN: The Phillies love Galvis' glove and would slide him to shortstop if Rollins ever were to miss an extended stretch of time. Quinn, a highly regarded switch-hitting prospect who was drafted in the second round in 2011, showed plenty of promise in his first full season in the minor leagues, hitting .281/.370/.408 at short-season Williamsport with one home run, 30-of-36 steals, and 61 strikeouts in 267 at-bats. But he is several years away from even being in the conversation about the immediate future.

IV. Potential for personnel upgrades

TRADE POTENTIAL: The Phillies simply aren't going to find a shortstop who can match Rollins' production. Only seven players at the position finished 2012 with a higher OPS (min. 200 PA): Troy Tulowitzki (.846), Ian Desmond (.845), Jose Reyes (.780), Josh Rutledge (.775), Jed Lowrie (.769), Hanley Ramirez (.759) and Starlin Castro (.753). The Phillies could theoretically attempt to make a play for Lowrie with the Astros, who always seem willing to listen on players, and put him at 3B. But a deal for a shortstop who would replace either Rollins or Galvis is highly unlikely.

FREE AGENT MARKET: Again, in the unlikely scenario that the Phillies trade Rollins, they won't be going outside the organization to replace him. Assuming the Tigers pick up Jhonny Peralta's $6 million option, the available free agents are a collection of light-hitting veterans: Jason Bartlett (33), Ronny Cedeno (30), Stephen Drew (30), Alex Gonzalez (35), Yuniesky Betancourt (31) and utility men: Cesar Izturis (33), Brian Bixler (30). Only Marco Scutaro is the only real bat available at the position, and he is 37 years old and a question mark as an everyday player.

V. In conclusion: shortstop.

Pretty self-explanatory here. Expect Rollins here for at least the next couple of seasons.



David Murphy Daily News Staff Writer
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