While the .245 batting average and .305 on-base percentage that Rollins carried into the game were both well below his career marks, they do not look nearly as bad when you consider the production of the rest of the shortstops in the major leagues, as well as the production of the players who would have been options to replace him had he not re-signed with the Phillies.
His .715 OPS entering the game ranked 11th out of 24 major league shortstops with at least 300 plate appearances. That was .001 behind Starlin Castro and .24 behind Derek Jeter. In fact, Castro's .272/.304/.412 line is some pretty good context for Rollins' .245/.305/.407 line entering Monday.
While Rollins, 33, has clearly regressed at the plate in recent years, he still provides production that most teams would be happy with. His on-base percentage ranks 12th, while his slugging percentage ranks seventh. He also ranks sixth, with 18 stolen bases. In fact, he has fared far better in the first year of his new deal than others who have signed over the past couple of seasons, including the Orioles' J.J. Hardy (.223/.270/.374, 16 HRs), the White Sox' Alexei Ramirez (.262/.283/.353, five HRs), the Cardinals' Rafael Furcal (.263/.333/.337, five HRs) and the Angels' Erick Aybar (.268/.308/.384, five HRs).
None of the signs of aging that seemed so evident in 2010 have been present this season. His power rates are all right around his career averages, and while he is no longer a threat to steal 40 bases, Rollins is running better than he has the last couple of seasons. Most important, he still has the range and arm that have long made him one of the game's top defensive shortstops.
"That's still one of my goals," said Rollins, who entered Monday night hitting .250/.314/.484 with 11 home runs as of June 1. "Obviously, there are a lot of great, great shortstops. To get in the conversation, looking at guys' numbers and what they've done defensively and how they helped their team, you just sort of wait to be a dominant team to win on a daily basis."
Which segues into a topic that is sure to be discussed by Phillies management in preparation for the 2013 season. To regain some of the offensive luster that the Phillies have lost over the past couple of seasons, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and manager Charlie Manuel would be wise to look outside the organization for a player who might supplant Rollins as the team's leadoff hitter.
Only three National League teams have a lower on base percentage than the .309 the Phillies have posted at the leadoff spot. They rank 11th with a .250 batting average, but fourth with a .410 slugging percentage. Phillies leadoff hitters are ninth with 69 runs scored and third with 46 RBI.
Manuel did not rule out the possibility of Rollins' hitting somewhere other than leadoff in the future.
"The older he gets, and that's probably natural, he's a different kind of hitter," Manuel said. "He is definitely a different kind of hitter. When he's knocking in 75 to 95 runs and he's scoring 100, he was definitely a different player, and he was definitely a different leadoff hitter, because of the extra base hits and things. You can look at leadoff hitters anyway you want to, it's still a position in the lineup where guys have to get on base a lot."
The leadoff talk can wait until the offseason. As for shortstop, the growth of a number that now stands at 1,731 shows no signs of slowing.
Third baseman Placido Polanco (back) is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment at Class A Clearwater on Wednesday. He will play again on Friday and Saturday before rejoining the Phillies Monday, at which point they hope to activate him.