It took the departure of Jimmy Rollins to wake me from my offseason slumber. And it was indeed a rude awakening. The trade of Rollins to the Dodgers signals the end of a Phillies era, which is sad. It also seems that more big changes are on the way.
I do think the trade was the right move, but that does not make it any less depressing. During his 15 years with the team, Rollins provided fans with exciting moments, frustrating moments and everything in between. He became the team’s all-time hits leader, won an MVP and helped bring Philadelphia a World Series. If you follow this team closely as I have done over the years, watching J-Roll head to the west coast is akin to a family member moving away. Love him or hate him, life will never be the same without Rollins.
The Phillies Phollowers official mascot, J-Roll Smurf, was hit the hardest. He immediately took to the phone to call his agent and make sure he was not also being shipped out. A blue uniform would totally clash with his blue skin. It is not a good look. J-Roll Smurf then drown his sorrows in sugar by raiding the cookie jar. I have assured him he will always have a home here, as will the real Rollins.
It has not yet been announced what the Phillies will get in return for J-Roll, but it is assumed to be two minor league pitchers. The Phillies acquired another new pitcher yesterday when they traded Antonio Bastardo to the Pirates for another lefty, Joely Rodriguez. Rodriguez went 6-11 with a 4.84 ERA in 30 games this past year with Double-A Altoona and is considered to be one of their top prospects.
The question now is who will the ax fall on next? Many hope it will be Ryan Howard, but who wants him, really? His contract is too large and his production too little. Cole Hamels may be next, but the Phillies have to hit a grand slam with that trade if it happens or risk losing the fan base. And I do not even want to mention Chase Utley…I cannot imagine a Phillies team without him.
We now wait and see what will happen next. In the meantime, I wish Jimmy the best and hope the move works out for him.