Let’s start this by looking back.
Here’s me, a few days ago:
I still believe that the 2015 Opening Day shortstop comes from outside the organization; I suppose at the moment, I’d bet on that being Jimmy Rollins, figuring that he’ll accept it’s time to go once the Phillies deal Cole Hamels and initiate a real rebuild. (Whether that’s after Hamels goes to Boston or Rollins agreeing to come with Hamels to Los Angeles is open for interpretation.)
Here’s Dustin on Nov. 26:
This is the guy atop my wishlist. Rollins, despite heading into his age-36 season, is still above-average on both sides of the ball. I looked at him as a trade possibility a couple weeks ago, but he shouldn’t cost that much in trade (I know, I know, Ruben Amaro, Jr.) and would step in as the team’s leadoff hitter – with or without Gordon on the roster. The Dodgers don’t need a long-term shortstop solution, so Rollins might just be the perfect player to acquire.
Dustin had also given Rollins a fuller look earlier in November, and if you don’t already know why we’re talking about him, now you do. Here’s Jon Heyman from the Winter Meetings in San Diego:
Longtime Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins is said to be willing to consent to be traded to the Dodgers if the teams could work things out. It isn’t known how likely a Rollins deal is with the Dodgers, but a person familiar with the situation said there’s at least some chance it could happen.
This is just one of a billion trade rumors this week that isn’t likely to come to anything, but it’s worth investigating because it just makes so much damn sense. Corey Seager is the future, but he isn’t the present, at least not in April. A one-year placeholder seems like a perfect fit, and with Alexei Ramirez likely off the table now that the White Sox are making major moves, you’re left with.. Jed Lowrie? Stephen Drew? Internal options Miguel Rojas or Erisbel Arruebarrena?
No thanks. Rollins, however, is the perfect fit. He’s not young, and he’s not the star he was when he was winning the NL MVP back in 2007, but he’s an adequate one-year guy, a player who can hit near the league average, add some value on the bases, and be a competent or better fielder. That might not sound exciting, but also remember that at the moment, the Dodgers may have the worst shortstop situation in baseball. If Rollins is merely an average shortstop, that’s a step up, and he was quite a bit more than that in 2014.
As the Phillies continue to collapse — they may legitimately be the worst team in baseball in 2015, and that’s with Rollins and Cole Hamels — the likelihood of veterans deciding to waive no-trade clauses increases. Obviously, there’s the ever-difficult issue of agreeing with Ruben Amaro on compensation (Heyman notes that the Phillies want “a big-time prospect,” that they asked the Yankees for Luis Severino and/or Aaron Judge, and that the Yankees came back with “a utility player,” which, ha) but Rollins, for all he’s meant to Philadelphia is not Hamels. There is no chance of him being a part of the next good Phillies team. There is no chance of him making 2015 a meaningful season in Philadelphia.
Remember, anyway, that veterans haven’t been bringing back as much in trade as you’d think. Look at what the A’s got for Jeff Samardzija or Josh Donaldson, or what the D-Backs got for Miguel Montero. The market has spoken. Amaro shouldn’t — and won’t — dump Rollins for nothing, especially if multiple teams are interested, but we’re not talking anything like a Joc Pederson or Julio Urias here. Dustin spitballed a Zach Lee; perhaps also a partially-subsidized Arruebarrena would be of interest to replace Rollins.
Usually, “ooh, a past-his-prime veteran!” is not something that interests me. This is different. It’s a position the Dodgers badly need to fill, and Rollins represents both an upgrade and a commitment that doesn’t block Seager. This idea (pending what goes back) gets my seal of approval. Make it happen.