May 4, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins (11) fields a ground ball off the bat of Washington Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth (28) (not pictured) in the 5th inning at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Nationals 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Should the Red Sox pursue Jimmy Rollins?

Last August Jimmy Rollins cleared waivers and rumors were surfacing that he would be moved with the Dodgers being one of the prime suitors. Rollins also expressed a desire to stay in Philadelphia and did have a 10/5 leverage.

Rollins’ numbers have slowly diminished since his stellar 2007 MVP campaign, but Rollins still remains a productive player and one whose defensive skills, reflected in UZR and Total Zone, are above average. At age thirty-five Rollins is obviously finishing out the last third of an excellent career.

Is it time for Boston to make a move and pursue Rollins?

The contract is reasonably friendly with 11M this season and a potential vesting of another 11M kicking in for 2015. Certainly in the range of what was being offered to the occupant of shortstop for 2013.

Rollins is currently slashing .261/.339/.405 and does have some pop left with 3/15. Rollins can still move with 5 steals this season and 22 in 2013. What does stick out is his interleague slash for 2013 of .214/.313/.286 and a career .245/.309/.398. Rollins, a traditional leadoff hitter, has a career .330 OBP from that slot, but that degrades to .309 against the AL.

Acquiring Rollins would, at least on the surface, provide some stability and speed at the leadoff position, with an acceptable, but not remarkable, OBP. Rollins would also be a defensive upgrade over the disappointing, at least this far, Xander Bogaerts. Bogearts appears more comfortable at third and that may just be an option. Rollins also brings the pedigree of experience to a team that is the defending champions, and that cannot be dismissed. This would certainly not be Rollins’ first rodeo.

Bringing Rollins in comes with consequences to player development. Such a move would certainly be a signal to Will Middlebrooks and Bogaerts that the 2014 parade has passed by. That mindset could also filter down to Garin Cecchini, currently performing rather favorably at Pawtucket.

Then it comes to: how do you get Rollins? Last I checked, Philadelphia was the City of Brotherly Love and not Brotherly Gifts. There would be a price tag. Would the Red Sox be willing to include slick fielding and developing hitter Deven Marrero? Philadelphia would, most certainly, require a bit more than the Prospect Du Jour. Would just Felix Doubront be enough to seal a deal? In the GM negotiation process you always ask high and Philadelphia will, beyond any doubt, be tossing out names such as Henry Owens and Mookie Betts, which will probably result in a deer in headlights look from Sox management.

Consummating a deal would only be one part of the puzzle with the second part being Rollins. Would he even agree? Is the possibility of returning to the playoffs temptation enough? Rollins is the all time Phillies leader in doubles and is approaching the team record for hits. How important are milestones to Rollins? And, let us not forget, ever since the Phoenicians invented money there is a way to convince a reluctant player.

The Red Sox have been clear on their commitments to Jackie Bradley and Bogaerts and have trumpeted the development in their system. So such a move may have a tinge of panic and backstepping built into it, but for 2014 a Rollins could stabilize the SS and top of the order situation.

And while I am in hot stove mode, how about getting Cliff Lee into the picture?

Should the Red Sox pursue Jimmy Rollins?

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  • Paul Prims

    Rollins is 35. It’s moves like this that everyone kills the Yanks and their fans over because they feel the need to win the Series every year. Is this what we’ve become as a fan base? The team just pulled off a miracle last year. That wasn’t enough? Plus all I heard all spring was how great Xander would be and now some want to pull the plug at SS for a 35 year old? Not to mention putting a 25 yr old 3B out to pasture as well. Geez.

    • Rick M

      Having a veteran presence is a plus. That has worked for decades for NY. Boston did that last season and this season with selective signings.
      WMB is the one that I would target in such a scenario I described. I have seen nothing of WMB “Potential” since his half season a few years back. XMan performed rather well in the playoffs when handed third. I would just let Bogaerts stay around until he settles in.
      I thought WMB had the potential to be similar to Hobson. Same issues defensively, but similar as a hitter. Of course another Valentin or even Hillenbrand would be nice. Heck, even Tim Naehering would do.

      • John Cate

        Rollins isn’t the kind of “veteran presence” you want. He’s the kind of veteran presence the Red Sox had two years ago. And the Red Sox don’t need that, anyway. They’ve got all sorts of veterans who mentor the young players. Trust me, I’d rather have someone like Papi or Pedey or Napoli playing that role than Jimmy Rollins.

        • Rick M

          Veteran presence is an experienced hand at being in the baseball wars. Rollins also plays in baseball hot bed very similar to Boston. There are some plus factors and minus factors with acquiring Rollins and I fully discussed those in the article. This is merely an option.
          If early June rolls around and the Sox are still treading water and WMB is still at his Mendoza Line then, just maybe, Rollins could shore things up a bit. What would be your options?

  • Paul Prims

    I’m not thrilled with Xander so far either but IMO he’s being used incorrectly. He should be leading off with that OBP. Not in the 6 hole where he’s expected to drive in runs. That will come. But Rollins ain’t the answer. Sometimes you gotta live with the growing pains. What better time than now coming off a championship? Stand pat, Ben. Be patient Sox fans. Don’t act like Yankees fans and dream up trades for over the hill stars.

  • Aaron Somers

    No, on so many levels. You don’t give up on Bogaerts two months (not even) into the season and you certainly don’t do so for an aging and overrated player who doesn’t want to be traded in the first place.

  • Nick Kopke

    Xander will get hot. He is adjusting right now. He is drawing walks so he is seeing the ball he just has not found the stroke yet. His batting average is not bad, but not good either. I think it is just a matter of tie before we see him barrel up the ball more consistently and driving it as well. If he had a high K rate and low walk rate I would see your point more. This kid just needs the summer to get here and he will be just fine.

    • Rick M

      I would have Bogaerts at third at this point. Some have him projected for that position. WMB? I have lost faith in. My main point is that two issues would be addressed. Getting XMan in a more comfortable spot and getting a reasonable facsimile of a leadoff hitter in place. Then in 2016, if all goes well, welcome to Mookie Betts.

  • John Cate

    That’s insane. You want to bench a 21-year-old with an OPS+ of 104 and a UZR/150 just a tiny hair below average so you can replace him with a washed-up 35-year-old with a bad attitude? And pay about $9 million and probably a couple of high-level prospects for the privilege of doing so?

    I’m glad Rollins has dug in his heels and refused to allow the Phillies to trade him, and I’m even more glad that Ben Cherington couldn’t possibly be dumb enough to trade for him even if Rollins allowed it.

    • Rick M

      Where did I say bench Bogaerts? My idea is to have Bogaerts at third. Seemed to do reasonably well.

      • John Cate

        So instead, you want to bench a 25-year-old third baseman with real power who has been fantastic defensively of late, in favor of playing a 21-year-old rookie out of his natural position, all so the Red Sox can pay about $9 million for the privilege of playing a washed-up 35-year-old shortstop from another team with a bad atttiude, while giving up a few prospects in the deal? Great. That’s only a 9.8 on the insanity scale, rather than a 9.9.

        • Rick M

          You mean Bogaerts who played third in the playoffs? Seems like John Farrell, who I assume knows a wee bit more about baseball than either of us, had no problems placing XMan in the spotlight in the ultimate big show in baseball. There has been discussion of Bogaerts eventually moving to third. This is not a new topic and has also been mentioned in scouting reports.
          That real power? And what price does it come with? Low average and a pile of K’s.
          Fantastic defensively? Not in my book. Made a simple error right in front of me Tuesday night. In fact many have posted or written about the potential of WMB being the first baseman of the future.
          Now I had long been a supporter of WMB and pictured him as a Butch Hobson type. I now realize I was overly optimistic. The best case for this team in the NEAR future would be more consistency defensively on the left side and a leadoff hitter. Pedroia has done well in leadoff, so that may be solved.

        • Rick M

          John: If you are using the DSMR IV for your insanity scale my wife – The Lovely Cynthia – would fully agree, and, quite possibly, move me into that coveted 10.0 range. LOL!

        • Patrick Green

          You raise good points except one — Will Middlebrooks is an abysmal defensive commodity. He has and always will be.

  • Justin Jay

    Simple answer… No

  • Harry Baxter

    Seriously, what’s the point of considering a deal for Rollins, a once excellent player? You only trade prospects for a “game changer”, and if Rollins creates two more wins, it won’t transform the team from an also-ran into a World Series Winner.

    • Rick M

      Depends on the prospects. Yesterdays gold becomes today’s pyrite. Two wins? Let me see….playoffs in 1978. Would two wins have prevented that?
      Game changer would require multiple top end prospects. BSI’s John Faher had an article on getting Stanton. That is where you consider dealing the likes of Owens or Betts in a package. Similar to the AGon trade. For Rollins you start to look at 11 -20 or, who I mentioned, a Doubront. All conjecture. In Mid June this may all just be hyperbole.