March 19, 2014

Should the Phillies play hardball with Rollins?

With Jose Igelesias' stress fractures having him on the shelf for the Detroit Tigers for half the season, speculation next turned to free agent Stephen Drew as a possible signing. But Dave Dombrowski has put the kibosh on that.

He has been burning up the trade talks telephone, though. One obvious thought would be Jimmy Rollins of the Phillies. However, he's a 5-and-10 veteran who would have to waive his no-trade rights and so far, that's a definite not gonna from him. In part, his reasoning is that he's just 60 hits short of Mike Schmidt's Phillies career team record. On the other hand, new manager Ryne Sandburg has already shown he can make Rollins' life hell.

One way to make his life hell? Keep him at less than 434 plate appearances this year so his vesting option doesn't kick in. I'm not sure who you could replace him with, but, if, per Rollins' statement that he wouldn't even consider a trade unless the Phils are well out of the race, that would be a good excuse to try a AAA or even a AA and a AAA prospect at the big club, and, in turn, block Rollins from his vesting.

That would then make him a free agent, with the QO hanging over his head.

I mean, César Hernandez certainly looks ready enough to step up. And Drew's own injury history aside, he's still four years younger than Rollins, which means that J-Roll probably isn't worth as much in trade bait as Amaro thinks he is, or as Rollins does.

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