We read between the lines last week to realize that Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg and shortstop Jimmy Rollins were not on the same page and that a three-day period in which Rollins was not in the lineup meant something. But a report out this morning seems to indicate that the Phillies and their veteran shortstop are at a critical juncture in their relationship, and that if Rollins is not ready to lead in the manner the team wants him to, he can leave.
Buster Olney of ESPN.com wrote this morning that there is growing sentiment in the Phillies organization that it could be time to move on:
But there is strong sentiment within the organization that the Phillies would be better off trading him and establishing a new tone with a new shortstop, according to sources.
However, Olney notes that Rollins himself has a different idea, and it revolves around Rollins reaching milestones that would make him atop the Phillies record books:
There is one major hurdle -- perhaps insurmountable -- to any potential deal, of course. Rollins has the right to veto any trade proposals, and he intends to stay. Rollins told CSN Philly on Sunday that he won't waive his no-trade rights anytime soon, indicating that he'd like to break Mike Schmidt's franchise record for hits. Rollins has 2,175 hits, 60 shy of Schmidt.
Rollins enjoys "10/5" rights. As a player with 10 years experience and five years with the same team, he has the right to veto any trade. Every player can earn these rights through longevity, even if this language does not exist in the contract explicitly.
Even in a down year, Rollins had 151 hits last season. It would not be far fetched to think that Rollins could get those 60 hits by mid-June. Would he finally agree to trade then? It's hard to say. The Phillies turned the page with their manager last season, ushering in a new era. Doing the same at the shortstop position could benefit Rollins personally and the team as a whole.