Does Rollins Deserve a Contract Extension?

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, November 01, 2010 08:44 AM | Comments: 68
Analysis, Free Agency, News, Opinion, Posts

Over $88 million is already being doled out to seven players and a few option clauses in 2012. Presently, Ruben Amaro Jr. and the Phillies decision-makers have more pressing needs with guys like Jayson Werth and possibly finding a new home for Raul Ibanez for 2011. The calendar still reads 2010, which matters not because the Phillies could have a decision to make on Jimmy Rollins soon.

Rollins’ 2011 option was exercised in advance of the 2010 season, which was basically a formality. Everyone knew Rollins would be back at a relatively friendly $8.5 million in ’10. What no one is sure of is if he’ll be back beyond next year.

Should the Phillies pay their superstar shortstop and franchise face now, locking him up a long-term deal, or wait it out until after this season to see whether or not he’s worth it? Ruben Amaro stated last week that they would not seek an extension with him for now. Here are the pros and cons of signing Rollins long-term this offseason when he turns 32 rather than wait until age 33.


-His defensive metrics are still off the charts. As you witnessed in the postseason, even with one healthy leg and one not-so healthy leg, his arm is still 100 percent. Rollins has a cannon arm and continually made great plays to either side of the infield, routinely gunning out runners on close plays at first base.

-J-Roll’s UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) was 6.9, good for seventh in the majors with a minimum of 700 innings played. It was the third highest UZR of his career.

-When healthy, he’s still a demon on the basepaths. Rollins stole 17 bases in just 88 games. That’s a considerable amount of steals when you take into account the end of the season when Rollins was unable to run at full strength and therefore his numbers suffered.

-Not sure if this is a pro or a con, but Rollins did walk more times than he struck out (40 BB/32 K). This could fall into either category as we know J-Roll often swings early in the count.

-Rollins has the talent to turn things around instantly. The past two years have been sub-par by his standards, but everyone knows he can be one of the best shortstops in all of baseball. The question is, does he want to be the guy he was in 2007?

-The 2012 free agent list is slim pickin’s at the shortstop position. Clint Barmes, Jason Bartlett, Yuniesky Betancourt, Rafael Furcal, JJ Hardy, Marco Scutaro, and Jack Wilson are the better names on that list. None of them scream marquis defender and game-changing bat when healthy. They all whisper overrated and overpriced. Rollins is head and shoulders above the rest for ’12.

-His leadership abilities aren’t lacking. In my first season on “the beat”, J-Roll would usually speak whether or not he did well or not. Sometimes he would hide from accountability, but other than Brad Lidge or Shane Victorino, few Phillies were available everyday. Still, his loose demeanor and quiet confidence seems to soothe his teammates and the fans even in the worst of times.

-It assures the Phillies will have a viable shortstop option for several more years as the farm system lacks a guy who can step in for Rollins in the near future.

-Locking him up now would fit into the “cost certainty” category that Amaro routinely mentions when it comes to the payroll.


-First pitch swinging. It’s going to send Philadelphians and those who follow the team to an early grave. So often, Rollins will roll a first pitch over to second base or pop it up to the shortstop, leaving him with an awful plate appearance. As his skills slowly deteriorate on the wrong side of 30, he’ll have to be more patient at the plate and that starts with working counts in his favor. This should be near the top of his to-do list for ’11.

-His conditioning was clearly an issue at the end of the season following his leg injuries. He looked slower and heavier and that was brought on by the fact that his most prized possessions failed him. Rollins must come into spring training next year in the best shape of his life.

-Is adding another long-term contract a positive for this team? Depending on what happens with Werth – his commands are in the $100 million range, presumably – then a Rollins extension expands the thick waistband the Phillies have grown recently.

-Why do it now if you don’t have to? The Phillies have the wiggle room to wait it out and see where this season leads Rollins. If it’s on a downhill slope, they can choose to look elsewhere via free agency or trade. If J-Roll fins that sweet stroke again and proves to be healthy, they may lose the upper hand they have right now.

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About Pat Gallen

Pat Gallen has written 1709 articles on Phillies Nation.

Pat is Editor-in-Chief of Phillies Nation. He also covers the Phils for 97.5 FM in Philly.

  • Posts: 0 Terry

    For everything he brings to the table, he is not at all overpaid. And I don’t want to hear another word about J Roll being too old, and it being time to go to Valdez. He’s no spring chicken either, he’s actually older than Jimmy.

  • Posts: 0 mtuske

  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    You didn’t really just try to prove your point with a “Major League” clip did you?

    I thought I was dumb for using yahoo stats! (actually I was dumb for using yahoo stats, but that’s not the point)

    Sign Jimmy- No more than 3 years/25m- Do it now.

  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    Now another link showing us what Pat already said in the original posting. Sheeesh

  • Posts: 0 mtuske

    @Lefty – You didn’t really just try to prove your point with a “Major League” clip did you?

    I’ve been dying to use that soundbite for weeks. I enjoyed it.

    Sign Jimmy- No more Do it now.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    mtuske, even if we use your argument that he’s an “overpaid gold glover”…you still don’t give him the major league minimum. Do you know ANYTHING about the business of baseball?….or are you just try to stir sh*t up online?

  • Posts: 0 brooks

    This place is a gas. Freaks, geeks, sharpies, dimwhits all in one place.
    Wow – mtuske – did you just say to Sign Jimmy after you said he’s not worth a penny over the league minimum and Valdez is better and smarter player than him? Now we should sign him? Jeez mtuske, I was ready to become a devoted follower of your wisdom but it sounds like you already jumped off the proverbial cliff. Need help bud?

    Terri made a pretty good point, if the Phils extend an offer to him now it probably would be low since the last 3 years have been a dissappointment. So, by waiting (like I suggested earlier) and if he has even an average season (.280, 40 sb’s, 110 + runs scored, 40 plus doubles) – his value would then increase.

    Hard call.

  • Posts: 0 mtuske

    @Brooks – I said sign Jimmy no more. Meaning don’t sign him.

    @Terry – Not trying to stir anything. I just don’t think Rollins is that guy anymore. Yeah he’s funny and has that Strahan gappy thing going on but he just doesn’t have it anymore. It’s not age maybe it’s contentment.

  • Posts: 0 bfo_33

    I really like the game of baseball, and having likable players makes it all that much more fun to watch. It wasn’t always easy cheering for the Pat the Bat, Juan Samuel, Von Hayes, or even Mike Schmidt, but I wanted Rollins to succeed because it was him almost as much as the benefit to the team. With that said, it is always better to let someone go with another year or 2 still left, vs holding on too long.

    On no planet is Valdez equal to Rollins, but Rollins is no longer worth the premium. If you are keeping Rollins for his glove, from all reports, Galvis is almost there, and has another year to refine a Bowa type slap contact hitting style, and will be at the league minimum. Let Rollins play the year out, then let him go. Potential is for a 25 year old, not a 32 year old.

  • Posts: 0 biz

    Offer him an extension, nothing ridiculous, but his actual value.

    And bat him 7th.

  • Posts: 0 Terry

    I’m with you, biz. I would definitely move him down in the order and bat Vic lead off (a craft he needs to work on a ton as well). Whether his numbers come back or not, if he could hit .260 and keep hitting the ball hard, with his speed, he’s a hell of a 7-hole hitter.

  • Posts: 0 jeff

    NO WAY. You could not trade him for a pair of socks. He has declined to the point of no return. He is always hurt. The running game is gone. He swings at the first pitch. There is no power. Defense is still good but not great. Get rid of him. Tired of his mouth anyway. Goodbye Jimmy. Thanks for the memories. PS..TAKE HOWIE WITH YOU.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf


  • Hold the phone. I really hate when people talk about having won awards.


    Jimmy Rollins is my favorite Phillie of all-time. You know what that means too? NOTHING. Awards like MVPs and Cy Youngs in the grand scheme of things mean nothing because they are based upon past events and are really nothing more than populatity contests. The next time an MVP adds .150 to the player’s next year OBP or a Cy Young shaves 0.100 off of the pitcher’s WHIP, please let me know. Otherwise, let’s just make sure we keep these awards in the context of what they are – awards, not predictors of the future.

    Long story short, you don’t dare sign Rollins to anything more than an absurdly low deal. You wait and see how he is. If he can get himself in order, then reward him. If he doesn’t, then we aren’t going to be strangling ourselves with more albatrosses than we know what to do with.

  • Posts: 0 biz

    Jeff’s right. We need to get rid of Howard. Take us back to the days of Travis Lee and Rico Brogna. We need a real 1st baseman.

    PS Jeff’s an idiot.

  • Posts: 0 MikeB.

    Not to get away from responding to this PN post but do many of you posters and fans feel that this current World Series is boring? There may be only five or six Texas players that I am familiar with.

  • Posts: 0 brooks

    Mike, I’m still not watching.
    Betsy Ross indeed -

  • Posts: 0 Philip Coward

    hello jim, really have nice article. thank you for this…

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