UPDATE, 3:36 pm: In a press release from the Phillies, they have officially placed Jimmy Rollins on the DL and have activated Placido Polanco from the DL. Expect to see plenty of Wilson Valdez at shortstop with some Michael Martinez sprinkled in.
Nobody needs to tell you that the Phillies are a worse team without Jimmy Rollins.
You’re well aware of that, even if you still hold the baseless feeling that he’s in a continuous decline.
The Phillies will be without his services for a few weeks, as Rollins will go on the 15-day DL for a mild Grade 2 strain of his right groin. As a frame of reference, the similarly positioned and built Orlando Hudson spent 24 days on the DL earlier this year with a Grade 2 right groin strain.
In a year where offense has plummeted league-wide, Rollins has hit .269/.343/.403 in 120 games. That .743 OPS is actually 3% better than league average. In 2008, when Rollins OPSed .786, that was 3% better than league average. So relatively speaking, Jimmy’s having a fine year.
His defense and base stealing ability are still as impressive as ever. Of NL shortstops with at leas 800 innings played, only Troy Tulowitzki ranks higher in advanced defensive metrics. And 19 of Rollins’ first 20 stolen base attempts were successful. He has hit a bit of a lull, getting thrown out in six of his last 15 attempts, but an 80% success rate is still elite.
There is a precipitous dropoff between Rollins and the combo of Michael Martinez and Wilson Valdez … one that would likely prevent the Phillies from traveling deep into the playoffs.When Placido Polanco went down, it was somewhat manageable because the Phils had been winning in spite of his three month-long slump. But Jimmy’s been a model of consistency atop the lineup in 2011, and while Martinez and Valdez are adequate defenders, neither can get to as many balls up the middle or to their left.
As injury expert Will Carroll of Sports Illustrated noted today, this injury could be the buildup of a year filled for Rollins with knee and hamstring problems.
With Rollins out and Polanco likely returning, we thankfully get to avoid an everyday 3B/SS combo of Martinez and Valdez. One of those two will stay in the 8-hole, Shane Victorino will move up to leadoff and Polanco will likely step in to bat second.