Jimmy Rollins Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz and Speculation Surrounding Phillies SS

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistDecember 16, 2013

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Jimmy Rollins has been no stranger to trade chatter the past few years, and it seems like he'll again spend this winter wondering where he'll play baseball in 2014.

ESPN's Buster Olney reports that the Phillies are making their tenured shortstop available via trade this offseason, though Rollins' no-trade clause could complicate matters:

PHI has made clear to other teams, as it did during the summer, that it is very willing to move Jimmy Rollins. Has a no-trade clause, tho.

— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 16, 2013

Rollins is eligible for the 10-and-5 provision, meaning he has accrued 10 total MLB seasons and has spent at least the last five seasons with a team. Should Philadelphia approach Rollins about a deal, he would have to waive his 10-and-5 rights to get it done—something typically frowned upon by the players' association.

The Phillies are known to be actively discussing deals with nearly every one of their top-tier players. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported from baseball's winter meetings that general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has made starting pitchers Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels available in deals—a move designed to shed salary. Closer Jonathan Papelbon, outfielder Domonic Brown and multiple others have been floated earlier this offseason.

While Rollins' name is just being brought into the 2013 winter discussion, Rollins has seemingly been on the block since the moment he signed his three-year, $33 million extension in December 2011. Philadelphia was known to be actively shopping the 35-year-old shortstop in the lead-up to the 2013 trade deadline, but Rollins made it clear he had no interest in waiving his rights.    

"There are still a couple things I would like to be number one on the lists of in this organization," Rollins said, via David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News. "So until those things are done, I'm not going anywhere."

The team later put him on waivers in August to keep its options open, but Rollins went unclaimed.

Rollins, once one of the most feared offensive shortstops in the league, had arguably the worst non-injury-related season of his career in 2013. He hit .252/.318/.348 with six home runs and 39 RBI, both career lows not counting 2000. 

FanGraphs' defensive measurements also show a marked drop-off, particularly a nose-dive in his range rating (4.2 in 2012, minus-6.8 in 2013). Shortstop has always been a position that sees greats age and move elsewhere on the field, but it's unclear whether Rollins would be able or willing to move after nearly a decade-and-a-half.

That factor will likely determine his latest run through the trade rumor mill. As Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com points out, it's going to be difficult to move him. He's an aging player at a young man's position who makes an eight-figure salary and holds all the cards in trade negotiations.  

Philly might want to move Rollins, but the real question is whether Rollins is finally ready to move on.


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