J-Rolling Out of Town?

While Cole Hamels has (rightfully) gotten most of the trade-deadline chatter this season, it appears that there is another veteran Phillie drawing a bit of interest, according to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports:

The Dodgers, who are short on prospects but long on both money and needs, have some interest in the Phillies shortstop, sources said Monday.


The Dodgers, who still hope to add both a pitcher and a hitter, also have interest in both Cole Hamels and Shane Victorino. It's unlikely they have enough prospects to land Hamels; Victorino would seem a more realistic target (because he's a free agent-to-be having a so-so year), as might Rollins (big contract, so-so year).

You know, this is simultaneously my favorite time of the baseball season, and the worst. I love the daily rumors and all the hot stove talk about Player A getting traded for Player B and then getting flipped to Team X. I love it. It's practically why Twitter was invented.

At the same time, I also hate it, because for every legitimate rumor that has legs, you get a dozen of the “Team Y has interest in Player C,” just because some writers or bloggers have white space to fill on a Monday afternoon.

But for now, let's take Knobler at this word and assume that the Dodgers have interest in Rollins. That's a possibility, because as he points out, they've been really awful at that position this year. So, there's that. But what do the Phillies do? Would they trade him? Should they trade him?

First, everyone on the team can be traded at any given time, depending on the offer. If someone wants to pony up the bodies and cash for Cliff Lee, then off he goes. It's just a matter of how much of how little the team needs to move a certain player and what kind of value can be had in returned.
In the case of J-Roll, he figures to be pretty low on the list of players that should be put on the trading block, due in part that he plays great defense at a tough position with little depth (Freddy Galvis notwithstanding), while providing slightly above average offense at shortstop -- NL shortstops are hitting .257/.310/.387, while Rollins comes in at .261/.315/.414. He isn't that far ahead, but he's certainly one of the better ones in the league.

Second, the Phillies don't have a reason to move him. Unlike Hamels, who could be gone next year, anyway, or Carlos Ruiz (whose value will never be higher) or Hunter Pence (who is going to get expensive) or Roy Halladay (who is 35), Rollins is a fixed cost (at a reasonable $11 million per year) until his age 35 season, where he figures to provide great defense and good enough offense. The need to trade him isn't there, not in the slightest.

Third, the Phillies need to position themselves to compete in 2013, and if they trade players who are actually contributing, then the chance of them getting back on track next season is lower, unless they can get someone who can adequately fill the position.

If the Phillies were blown away by another team -- say, the Dodgers -- then yes, he could be traded, and if the offer is good enough, then he should be traded. But, the thing about Jimmy Rollins is that he has 10-and-5 rights. Meaning that he's been in the bigs for 10 years, and on his current team for five, which gives him full veto power over any potential trade. So even if the Phillies were given the moon in a trade package, Rollins could shoot it right down. 

For now, I'm going to go ahead and chalk this one up to being one of those sort of nebulous rumors that make sense on paper, but no where else. It's possible that Jimmy could be traded, but the odds are really, really long, so you can count of J-Roll being in red pinstripes through the end of the season and beyond. 

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