In final year of contract, Rollins poised to step up

Magee
Magee
Posted: March 29, 2011

CLEARWATER, Fla. - Jimmy Rollins has given it some thought, but not much.

For the 11th straight year, the shortstop will be part of the Phillies' opening-day lineup Friday afternoon when the team plays the Houston Astros at Citizens Bank Park.

Only Larry Bowa, with 12, has more consecutive opening-day starts at shortstop for the Phillies. Rollins could fall short of matching Bowa's franchise record because he is in the final year of the multiyear contract he signed in 2005.

"The only thing I've thought about is if this is my final opening day, should I come out and tip my cap just in case?" Rollins said. "Other than that, I haven't given it much thought."

Rollins, 32, has spent much more time focusing on his health than his free-agent future. His baseball life changed in an instant and forever early last season when a strained right calf stripped him of a chance to play in the home opener and twice sent him to the disabled list.

"What was my body telling me? I don't know," Rollins said. "A couple days before the injury, I was doing some jump squats with 25-pound weights, and I went in to [trainer] Mark [Andersen] and told him my calf was kind of tight. I went and got worked on, played that game. The next day they felt better, but they were still tight. I went in and got worked on and was able to go play the game.

"That was in Houston, so it was a little warmer. Opening day [at home], you do the same thing. You get worked on, take BP, then you have to go sit down for 20 or 30 minutes. And then it happened."

Rollins started running wind sprints about 10 minutes before the home opener against Washington, and this time the tightness was too severe for him to play. At the end of the season, he had hit .243 and been limited to 88 games.

"Whatever the reason was, I have to make sure it doesn't happen again," Rollins said. "I've done everything I think I could have done. I've stretched, got the massages pretty regularly, and stayed flexible. Obviously everybody knows about the yoga. Everybody says as you get older you have to do a little more. So instead of giving myself 10 or 15 minutes pregame, I'll give myself 20 minutes to work my way into it, and that's fine. You have to accept it."

From a contract standpoint, Rollins described his 2010 season - the least productive of his career - as a "blessing in disguise." His explanation was that if he'd had a good year he'd be more concerned about a contract extension.

Now, he said his focus is in a better place.

"I was hurt last year, and I need to be healthy this year," Rollins said. "I feel good, so I'm looking forward to playing a full season. After that, everything else will be where it needs to be."

Manager Charlie Manuel said he liked what he saw from Rollins, especially in the latter part of spring training.

"I feel like he's in better shape," Manuel said. "Lately, he's been swinging the bat better."

Rollins said there is plenty of good baseball and another big contract in his future, but he knows this season will determine if that baseball and big contract will come with the Phillies.

"I may just be past the halfway point of my career," he said. "Being 32, I think I have a good six or seven years left, and that would put me at 38 or 39."

That would also be enough time for one more lucrative multiyear contract. His first long-term deal with the Phillies ended up being worth $48.5 million over six seasons.

"I could put that number on the lower end of my two big contracts, and that would be great," Rollins said. "That would be something nice. Whatever you get, you're thankful for anyway. I never imagined making 48-something million. I knew I was going to make some millions, and I was fine with that.

"Growing up, I was like, 'Man, just let me make one million a year.' Then the market shows where you are according to your skill level and impact to the team. Hopefully, I can stay on the upper echelon of that market."

If he does, it will help the Phillies remain in the upper tier of teams.

"I think sometimes it motivates to go out there and work for another contract," Manuel said. "I've seen it, so I guess I believe it."


Rollins' Career Statistics

Year, Team   AB   R   H   HR   RBI   AVG   

2000, Phillies   53   5   17   0   5   .321   

2001, Phillies   656   97   180   14   54   .274   

2002, Phillies   637   82   156   11   60   .245   

2003, Phillies   628   85   165   8   62   .263   

2004, Phillies   657   119   190   14   73   .289   

2005, Phillies   677   115   196   12   54   .290   

2006, Phillies   689   127   191   25   83   .277   

2007, Phillies   716   139   212   30   94   .296   

2008, Phillies   556   76   154   11   59   .277   

2009, Phillies   672   100   168   21   77   .250   

2010, Phillies   350   48   85   8   41   .243   

Career   6291   993   1714   154   662   .272   


Rollins Among Phillies Run Scorers

If scoring runs is the mark of the good leadoff hitter, then Jimmy Rollins is among the most productive in Phillies history. Here are Rollins' numbers compared with the team's all-time top scorers:

   G   AB   R    H   2B    3B    HR    RBIs    BB    SO    OBP    SLG    AVG   

 Mike Schmidt    2404    8352    1506    2234    408    59    548    1595    1507    1883    .380    .527    .267

Ed Delahanty    1555    6359    1367    2213    442    157    87    1286    643    214    NA    .508    .348

Richie Ashburn    1794    7122   1114   2217   287   97    22    499   946    455    .390   .388   .311

Jimmy Rollins*    1494    6291   993    1714   366    98    154   662   510    797    .328   .435   .272

 Chuck Klein    1405    5238    963    1705    336   64    243   983    471   410   .379   .553    .326

Sam Thompson    1031   4413   924    1469   272   106   95    957   343    144    NA    .507    .333

Roy Thomas    1286    4629    923    1364    80    42    6    264   946    11    .411    .334    .295

Sherry Magee    1521    5505    898    1647   337    127   75    886   546   201    .360    .447   .299

Bobby Abreu*    1353    4857    891   1474   348    42    195    814   947    1078   .416    .513    .303

Del Ennis    1630   6327    891    1812    310   65    259    1124    539   622   .344   .479   .286

* active


Contact staff writer Bob Brookover at 215-854-2577 or bbrookover@phillynews.com.

 

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