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Jimmy Rollins Latent New York Envy – Is He Lobbying for Reyes Job?



By Mike Silva ~ October 1st, 2011. Filed under: New York Mets, Outside the Apple.

Jimmy Rollins was at it again yesterday, this time taking the bait from the media and commenting on Jose Reyes‘ decision to take himself out of the season finale after a bunt base hit to preserve the batting title.

“I would have bunted,” Jimmy Rollins said Friday, a day before his Phillies were set to begin their National League division series against St. Louis. “I probably wouldn’t have come out of the game, though . . . That’s me, though.” Rollins continued to say that “everybody hears about Ted Williams going 6-for-8 on the doubleheader day (rather than sitting on .39955 in 1941). I’ve fought this hard to get in this position, and I’m going to see it all the way to the end. You come out, let’s say the other game goes extra innings, and now (Braun) gets five at-bats and walks away with five hits, and he catches you. You’re going to look back at what you did differently.”

Rollins has long been the most vocal member of the Phillies; especially when it comes to issues surrounding the Mets. He called the Phillies “the team to beat” before the 2007 season. During the 2008 victory parade down Broad Street he decided to mention Mets ace Johan Santana, acquired the previous offseason, and then adding “it takes more than one player to bring home a championship.”He even took a dig at Yankees fans during the 2009 World Series by saying the atmosphere at the new Yankee Stadium didn’t live up to his expectations. Days earlier he predicted the Phillies would beat the Bombers in five games during an appearance on the Jay Leno Show.

The Philadelphia obsession with New York is understandable. Despite putting together a team that has won 5 straight NL East titles, 2 pennants, and a World Series, the city will never be viewed in the same vein as New York. The Yankees are the luxury brand of MLB and will get the majority of the attention and accolades. The Mets, even in defeat and failure, are a far more popular story than anything done in Philadelphia. That is reality thanks to the real estate where both teams reside. Philadelphians haven’t helped themselves by displaying the kind of negative and boorish behavior that has led to rest of the country disliking them as sports fans.

Rollins comes across to me as a guy that yearns for the bright lights and big city. A guy that would love to play in New York, but has never been given the opportunity. He denied that yesterday when asked if he would consider moving 90 miles north.”That would be a tough call,” he said, shaking his head and grinning. “A tough call.” In other word, “please look at me, I want you.”

There is probably no room at the inn for Rollins to ever get his wish. First, he really isn’t all that good of a shortstop anymore. As a matter of fact, outside of one MVP season in 2007, Rollins has been a league average hitter throughout his career. A good component player that gives you speed and defense before his body began to breakdown. I won’t play the speculation game that other writers do when you see a career arc the results in an outstanding season like 2007, and then descent aided by a breaking down body. You have to admit the trend is very curious though. Second, and more importantly, both New York teams have shortstops already. The Yankees are married to Derek Jeter for three more years. The Mets will try to re-sign Reyes, but if they don’t, Ruben Tejada is a very encouraging young player. He actually has the potential to be a component player in the mold of Rollins.

I respect what the Phillies have done over the last five seasons. I didn’t think Pat Gillick or Ruben Amaro Jr. could put together the kind of winning environment you see at Citizens Bank Park nightly. They were able to leverage a solid farm system to complement their core, thus maximizing their window of opportunity. The Mets had a similar opportunity in 2006, but Omar Minaya and company made critical mistakes that led to the second division club we see today.

With that said, I don’t like Jimmy Rollins, nor think he is particularly good. Outside of ’07 he has been vastly overrated. His latent New York envy and “look at me please” antics have grown tiresome. He would be better served discussing how the Phils will get past St. Louis instead of worry about Jose Reyes and the batting title. Whatever contract he does sign this offseason will be for far less than the $8.5 million he earned with Philadelphia this year.

Even in Reyes worst seasons he’s been a better and more valuable player than Rollins could ever imagine; outside of 2007.

***

I find it amazing how many players have called out Reyes. Both C.J. Wilson of the Rangers and Peter Moylan of the Braves argued with Mets fans on Twitter about the Reyes decision. I can tell you that I reached out to someone close to the situation and it doesn’t appear the team had the same objections to Reyes’ actions as those around the league. I was told he is generally liked in the clubhouse by his teammates.

If Josh Hamilton or Chipper Jones were in the same position would Wilson and Moylan be saying the same thing? We might never find out, but considering there is a long list of players that set precedent with similar antics to what we saw with Reyes, I don’t see the big deal.

I have more of a problem with Joe Girardi asking the Red Sox to beat Mariano Rivera in their quest to secure the Wild Card last weekend, but allowing Joe Maddon‘s Tampa Bay team to face Cory Wade with their season on the line Wednesday night. That is what Wilson, Moylan, and Rollins should be railing against; not Reyes.

As a matter of fact, Wilson, a free agent after the season, should worry about what perception 29 general managers have of him after a putrid outing against Tampa in Game 1 of the ALDS.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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4 Responses to Jimmy Rollins Latent New York Envy – Is He Lobbying for Reyes Job?

  1. Ken Bland

    That’s an interesting characterization of Jimmy Rollins, Mike. I’m an enthusiastic Phillies fan that pretty much applies different value to Jimmy’s ability. I still see him as a valuble defensive player, and as a long time fan, am naturally proned to the personalities of the game, as opposed to burying myself in sabermetrics.

    Jimmy’s public personna, based on things like his public negotiating this week, team to beat prophecy, etc. can certainly rub an observor the wrong way. As a fan, with no inside access, I only develop guesses and conclusions on outside things. I feel pretty confident that the intangibles JRoll brings are appreciated and valued, and will result favorably, coupled with the supply and demand factor in the open market, or help toward a new deal with the Phils. Such a development wouldn’t make me right, and you wrong, it would merely suggest that at least 1 bidder saw it more my way than yours.
    But I firmly believe you are wrong to think he won’t surpass his past deal at 8 mil per. I believe the market will reward him with a minimum of higher for 3 years with a 4th year option that is fairly player friendly. Personally, I’m not offended by things like a plea to bring him to the Apple, or Heyman told 5 year want that came out this week. I view it as negotiation style. Nor is that a comment on whether I agree with the style, I just read it as that.

    We’ll see how it turns out, but I’m thinking my guess is closer to correct than yours based on the deal that comes out of his availability.

    I enjoy your blog, stop by fairly regularly, and particularly enjoyed the recent scouting reports on Koufax and maybe it was Seaver that ran a couple weeks back. Keep up the effortful work.

    All the best,
    Ken

  2. Reyes

    Reyes a classless player on a team with clubhouse deficiencies. Mets will never get better until they get rid of that selfish type player.

  3. Benny

    Mike:

    I had to take my kid to the dentist’s office on Saturday. While waiting for my kid to get his checkup I picked up a copy of Philadelphia Magazine to read an interview they had done with Jimmy Rollins. Did not talk about negotiations but stated that will not settle down in Philly once his career is done. I think when all is said and done he will be the SF Giants #2 option for Shortstop if they can not get Reyes

    http://www.phillymag.com/articles/jimmy_rollins_says_tax_the_rich/

  4. Mike Silva

    Benny

    That is a great point — I think Rollins is more in their price range, .i.e. short term deal than someone like Reyes.

    @Ken Bland – thanks for stopping by, I agree that Rollins has intangibles, but I worry about how intangibles work when players switch teams. It seems like leadership in the locker room is becoming a difficult formula to find, and precarious as well.

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