Last night it was clear that there was some sort of rift between new Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg and shortstop Jimmy Rollins. This morning, Rollins reported to camp and reporters asked Rollins about the situation. CSN Philly's Jim Salisbury reports that Rollins acknowledges the rift:
Rollins acknowledges Ryno could be sending a message w 3 straight games on bench. "obviously hes upset about something"— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyCSN) March 13, 2014
In MLB.com's Todd Zolecki's Zo Zone blog, Zolecki focuses on what appears to be a disconnect regarding the value of Spring Training games. Rollins appears to think less of them:
Q: You said the other day, “Who cares” regarding offense stinking it up this spring, that those game results/stats don’t really matter. This related?
A: Possibly. You got the point of the conversation, and it’s true. I was just (on the radio). It’s apples and oranges. No matter how much you want the orange to taste like an apple, it’s an orange. No matter what. No matter how much you want these games to count for something, when April comes around, people aren’t talking about this. People aren’t talking about, ‘Well, he had a great spring training.” Maybe for the first two days or the first week. But if you start out 0-5 that doesn’t matter. If you start out 5-0, that doesn’t matter because you’re doing it right now.
Rollins is off to a rough start offensively, hitting .133 in 15 at bats. But that is likely not the reason for any rift with Sandberg, who is very much like Rollins' rookie manager Larry Bowa, who demands hard play at all times.
Should Sandberg choose to play Freddy Galvis at shortstop instead of Rollins, there will be repercussions. Rollins can vest his 2o15 contract with just a modest number of plate appearances in 2014. With 434 plate appearances in 2014, Rollins will vest 2015 at $11 million. Considering Rollins made 666 in 2013, two-thirds of a season as the starter would vest the option.
Rollins is closing in on a number of Philadelphia Phillies franchise records and has a number of them already, including games played at shortstop.