Saturday, April 19, 2014
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Phillies core trio here for the long haul

If this were 2010, it would be considered great news that shortstop Jimmy Rollins has no desire to waive his no-trade rights, which is what he told reporters Sunday.

Phillies core trio here for the long haul

"It´s a fact," Jimmy Rollins said of whether a healthy Phillies team would return to the playoffs in 2013. (David Maialetti/Staff file photo)
"It's a fact," Jimmy Rollins said of whether a healthy Phillies team would return to the playoffs in 2013. (David Maialetti/Staff file photo)

If this were 2010, it would be considered great news that shortstop Jimmy Rollins has no desire to waive his no-trade rights, which is what he told reporters Sunday.

If you ranked the importance of the core position players during the Phillies' run of five straight division titles, a span that included two National League pennants and a World Series title, you might get an argument in the order, but the top three on almost everybody's list would be Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Rollins.

They emerged as three homegrown stars who turned the Phillies' offense into a scoring machine.

From 2004 through 2010, the Phillies ranked third or higher every season in the National League in runs scored.

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Rollins averaged 103 runs scored, 37 doubles, 10 triples and 17 home runs during that span.

Utley played his first full season as the team's regular second baseman in 2005 and averaged 105 runs, 36 doubles, 27 home runs and 95 RBIs during that six-year stretch.

Howard took over as the regular first baseman in the middle of the 2005 season and averaged 99 runs, 27 doubles, 46 home runs and 136 RBIs from 2006 through 2010.

Yes, there was a time when it seemed like you'd want that trio together forever.

And now it appears as if they're going to be around for at least a couple more years beyond this one, but that's not a thought that is going to cause any sort of celebration.

If the Phillies are indeed working on an extension with Utley, then it means he will be under contract for at least two more years and possibly more.

Howard, of course, has three years left on his contract and is owed $85 million beyond this season, so he is almost impossible to trade unless he comes back from knee surgery and starts launching balls out of the park.

Rollins, meanwhile, is on the second year of a deal that is likely to go through the 2015 season. Technically, he is only signed through the 2014 season, but there is a 2015 vesting option at $11 million. In order for the contract to extend another year, Rollins needs 600 plates appearances in 2014 or a combined 1,100 plates appearances in 2013 and 2014. He already has 439 plate appearances this season, so if he continues at that rate, he'll have roughly 667 plate appearances by the end of this season.

That means he'll only need 433 plate appearances in 2015 to get the $11 million in 2015. He also must not be on the disabled list at the end of the 2014 season to get the money.

Rollins said he still has some club records he'd like to chase down.

The Phllies, of course, are more interested in trying to restore their status as an elite National League team, something they are far from being right now.

A big part of the problem, of course, is that the trio that meant so much for so long isn't what it used to be, but it appears as if Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are going to continue playing in a ballpark near you for quite some time.



Bob Brookover Inquirer Columnist
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The place for up-to-the-minute Phillies coverage from The Inquirer beat writer Matt Gelb and columnist Bob Brookover.

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