Even though Jimmy Rollins has cleared waivers, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, and could be traded, it is unlikely the Philadelphia Phillies shortstop will waive his no-trade clause. Still it seems the shortstop would be better suited in a new uniform.
Rollins gave a clear reason for his no-trade clause to David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News, saying, "There are still a couple things I would like to be number one on the lists of in this organization ... so until those things are done, I'm not going anywhere."
While teams like the San Diego Padres could really use Rollins, the only way he'd conceivably waive his no-trade clause is if he could go to a contender. Here are three teams, in ascending order, that could vie for the veteran shortstop:
No. 3: New York Yankees
After a long career devoid of significant DL stints, Derek Jeter now can't stay healthy, and the Yankees continue putting nobodies or has-beens out on the field.
Rollins would certainly fit New York's mold. He'd be an overpaid, past-peak, once-All-Star veteran and would likely be one of the more productive hitters in a lineup that has the fourth-lowest team average and has scored the fourth-fewest runs in baseball.
In 2013, New York shortstops are batting .216 with an OPS of .578. While Rollins isn't even close to the player he used to be, he's still batting .255 and with a .660 OPS, so he would be an upgrade.
No. 2: Cleveland Indians
The Indians are fighting for any edge they can get in their quest to make it to October. Detroit's latest winning streak makes it unlikely that the Indians will take the AL Central, but Cleveland's wild-card hopes are very much alive.
Currently, Cleveland has Asdrubal Cabrera at short, and he's been abysmal. He sports a .243/.297/.397 line with seven stolen bases and a .694 OPS. While Rollins' power numbers are a little below Cabrera's, he's got nearly twice as many steals and gets on base more.
Defensively is where Cleveland could really use Rollins. In terms of UZR, by all accounts the most comprehensive advanced defensive metric, Cabrera is the worst shortstop in baseball. Rollins' UZR (supplied by FanGraphs) of minus-1.9 isn't 2012's 8.7, but it's nowhere near as cellar-dwelling as Cabrera's minus-19.
A colleague of mine actually tweeted at me today inquiring about Rollins:
Well, Rollins certainly hasn't been good. He's been a disappointment and a pain in Philadelphia's side. However, he'd be an improvement over Cabrera in the average, OBP and speed departments, and his defense—while it has declined since last year's Gold Glove performance—would be a huge help.
No. 1: St. Louis Cardinals
Pittsburgh is soaring and St. Louis is scuffling. And the Cardinals are getting no help from their shortstop.
Yes, Pete Kozma is a defensive wizard at times and is better at fielding his position than most in the game, but his brilliance stops there.
If Cabrera is abysmal, then there must be such a thing as sub-abysmal, and it is reserved for Kozma.
Maybe that's a little harsh, but his numbers warrant that kind of criticism. His cool .232/.279/.294 line and .573 OPS slot him as the worst in all offense categories on the Cardinals, and he sports the worst average, slugging percentage and OPS of any starting shortstop in baseball. Jimmy Rollins isn't a premier shortstop anymore, but he's also not Kozma.
If there's talk about Rollins potentially going anywhere, most of the chatter has been concentrated in the St. Louis fanbase:
There will be cries for Jimmy Rollins in Stl, and those cries will likely ignore his .312 OBP and .660 OPS. #stlcards— Dennis Lawson (@gr33nazn) August 9, 2013
Jimmy Rollins cleared waivers... Will the Cardinals pull the trigger on a deal? Could use a boost.— Chad Plein (@chadplein) August 9, 2013
St. Louis needs to pull itself out of its current funk if it wants to take the division over the do-no-wrong Pirates. It certainly has a wealth of young talent to offer Philly's barren farm system, so if Rollins will entertain a deal, so should Ruben Amaro Jr.