Questions have lingered about the Philadelphia Phillies’ off-season plans. Will they unload veterans and rebuild or keep their prominent names and make one final run at a Natioanl League East title with the current group? Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro delivered an answer Wednesday afternoon when he traded shortstop Jimmy Rollins to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The 36-year-old Rollins has spent his entire 15-year Major League career in Philadelphia. A second round pick out of an Oakland area high school in 1996, Rollins made his big league debut in late 2000 and secured the starting shortstop job the next season when he was named a National League All-Star and finished second in NL Rookie of the Year balloting.
A four-time All-Star, Rollins was named NL Most Valuable Player in 2007 and a season later helped the Phillies win their first World Series championship since 1980. The switch hitter has a career .267 average to accompany 216 home runs, 2,306 hits and four Gold Gloves. Though he batted just .243 in 2014, Rollins belted 17 home runs in 609 plate appearances and delivered a 3.9 WAR, his highest number since 2008.
As of Wednesday evening, it was unclear who the Phillies will receive in the trade. Media reports indicate that the package could include some of the prospects the Dodgers acquired from the Miami Marlins in another prominent deal today that sent infielder Dee Gordon and right-handed starting pitcher Dan Haren to Miami for highly regarded left-hander Andrew Heaney, second baseman Enrique Hernandez, right-handed reliever Chris Hatcher and catcher Austin Barnes.
Rollins is projected to replace Hanley Ramirez, who departed the Dodgers and signed with the Boston Red Sox, his original organization.
The trade of Rollins could enhance the chance that the Phillies deal Cole Hamels to Boston since the Red Sox have top shortstop prospect Deven Marrero, who would be part of a bounty of players Philadelphia would gain. In addition to Hamels, the Phillies could part with longtime veterans like Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Cliff Lee before spring training. Earlier today, the club also dealt left-handed reliever Antonio Bastardo to Pittsburgh for a minor league pitcher.