Jimmy Rollins (J-Roll), 36, has been traded and is now a Los Angeles Dodger. No longer will he be wearing the more familiar pin-stripe red and white uniform he has worn over the past 15-years as a Philadelphia Phillie. Number 11 has a new home on the West Coast where Dodger-Blue is the new color to be worn.
Rollins’ stint as a Philadelphia Phillie was one where he achieved many milestones. He had intentions to close-out his career in Philadelphia, so this trade comes as somewhat of a shock to a few die-hard fans and sport writers who are questioning if trading him was a good move for the team and the city. However, Phillies front office personnel had spoken on a number of occasions about moving around their more costly veteran players while entering a team-rebuilding phase.
To this point, Rollins’ only big league team has been the Phillies, where he is considered one of the game’s best defensive shortstops of all time with four golden-gloves to his credit. Rollins, a 3-time all-star at his position, won the MVP award in 2007. He leads the Philadelphia franchise all-time in at-bats, doubles and base hits. Rollins played an essential role on the field, where he hit 0.277 with 11 homers, and drove in 59 runs. He stole 47 bases, and was in the clubhouse during the Phillies most recent World Series Championship-winning season in 2008.
The desire to close out his career as a Philadelphia Phillie was a key reason that Jimmy Rollins strongly upheld his no-trade clause, as was his lack of desire to play for either the Yankees or the Mets. This despite the fact that both teams are in dire need of a veteran shortstop. A no-trade clause in a contract is earned by a player that has given a specified amount of service to a particular team, or it can be negotiated partially or fully into a player’s contract as leverage for the player to control where he plays while under the contract.
Born in Oakland, CA and growing up in the Buena-Vista part of Alameda, Rollins experienced the rough side of the neighborhood and notwithstanding he played his way up to the big leagues. As a youngster, he was a stand-out athlete in both football and baseball. Rollins eventually waived the no-trade clause in his contract thereby bringing him back to the West Coast and is set to start as a shortstop for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Sources claim the Phillies will acquire two minor league pitchers for J-Roll. Official completion of this trade is pending a physical examination of former Dodger outfielder Matt Kemp who was acquired by the San Diego Padres. The Padres are the third team involved in the deal.
In 2015, Rollins is guaranteed $11 million, which will also be the final year of his contract. During the 2014 season, the switch-hitter’s numbers slid a bit and it was reported he lost a step or two. Still, he hit 0.243, showed power with 17 homers knocked in 55 runs and stole 28 bases.
Hanley Ramirez, who played shortstop last year signed with the Boston Red Sox as a free agent. And their top position shortstop-prospect, Cory Seager, 20, who played in the Arizona Fall League and Double-A may not be ready to play at the major-league level until 2016. The Dodgers hope Rollins proves to be an integral bridge player while Seager matures.
During his prime, he was one of the big leagues best offensive shortstops. Now, Jimmy Rollins has been traded and is a Los Angeles Dodger at the peak of his career. He is still considered a much better than average player both offensively, defensively and he has a Championship Ring as well. His 453 stolen bases throughout his career rank as fourth-highest among all active major league players.
By D’wayne Stanelli
Image courtesy of Shannon Lamond – Flickr