After the heavily favored Philadelphia Phillies were eliminated from the postseason a few weeks ago, it became apparent that they still needed to make changes to their 2011 squad that won a club record 102 games.
The most biggest question/concern that seems to be floating around the Phillies organization is if they will bring back their captain, Jimmy Rollins.
As this lifelong Phillies fan's first-ever article for Bleacher Report, I am here to speak to the rest of Phillies Nation on why bringing back J-Roll would not be good for Philadelphia.
Let's begin, shall we?
Around the time the postseason started, Jimmy Rollins came out to the media and let his contract demands become known to the public. In the past few weeks he has said on more than one occasion that he is demanding a five-year deal, and although the amount of money was not specific, he said he will not give the Phillies a "hometown discount" and is not afraid to leave Philadelphia.
Although Rollins has also stated he'd take a four-year deal with an option for a fifth, he wants it to be a player option—which let's face it, is a five-year contract.
Those demands, at least to me, seem to be way too steep and extremely unreasonable, but Ruben Amaro did orchestrate the monumental contract given to Ryan Howard, so anything is possible
As much as I hate to say it, as a whole, the Philadelphia Phillies are an old team.
After the last game of the season, every position player for the Phillies was over the age of 30, with the exception of newly-acquired Hunter Pence. We've all heard this before, but unfortunately once position players arrive into their early- to mid-30s, they tend to decline.
Rollins is currently 32 and is quickly starting to lose what separated himself from other shortstops in the league—and that is his speed.
Although he did have 30 stolen bases this season, he was caught eight times and had his worst stolen base percentage since 2004.
He also hit just two triples this year, a career low in which he played in at least 100 games. He'll only get slower over the next five years, folks.
Over the course of his career, Jimmy Rollins has been in very good health—until the past two seasons.
He only played in 88 games in 2010, and although he did manage to play in 142 games this year, he came in as a pinch hitter on numerous occasions, and the games he did start, he was playing through injuries.
For any team to make a long term investment in any player, you have to believe that their body could hold up throughout their tenure.
Now I'm not saying that Jimmy has already broken down, but it seems likely that he will sooner rather than later.
Now I'm sure to get some heat from you all on this, but hear me out.
I know this reason may be a bit surprising, but for someone who has watched as many Phillies games as I have, it has become quite obvious that Jimmy Rollins doesn't like to hustle.
I could not count how many ground balls I've seen him roll over to the second baseman, just to watch Rollins run without a care down to first base, sometimes not even entering my television screen.
For a team that is supposed to pride itself on hard-working, blue-collar players like Hunter Pence and Chase Utley, it seems like Rollins doesn't fit into that mold.
Now, it has been well-documented that he is the "captain" of this team, so he must be doing something right, but it's clear that he must be more of a vocal leader.
But a lead-off hitter is supposed to provide a spark offensively, so what kind of message does it send to the rest of the club when your "spark" doesn't run out every play?
It seems like ages ago when Rollins won the MVP in 2007, because for all intents and purposes, it was.
Baseball is the ultimate "What have you done for me lately?" sport, and lately J-Roll hasn't done much to speak of.
Over the last three seasons, Rollins has averaged just .254, 15 home runs and just over 60 RBI per season.
Granted, it is extremely difficult for anyone to maintain the numbers he put up in 2007, but his recent statistics are mediocre. If there are better options available, I am sure that the fans, as well as Ruben Amaro, would prefer to part ways with Rollins.
Going into the offseason every team has their sights set on free agents, and more importantly are focused on extending core pieces to their current teams.
With that said, the Phillies' main priority should and will be to lock Cole Hamels up to a long-term deal.
Hamels has everything you look for in an ace, and is one of the few younger pieces that the Phillies have. Cole is heading into his final season of arbitration, and will become an unrestricted free agent after the 2012 season.
He's gone from pitcher of the future, to World Series MVP, to perennial CY Young candidate. They need to sign him now, before his price tag goes up any higher.
As long as Jimmy has been in Philadelphia, he hasn't been afraid to show how confident he is in himself and his team. Most fans can recall the multiple times he has proclaimed the Phillies "The team to beat" or his saying that they would win 100 games.
Don't get me wrong, I love when players are confident in their team, and in some cases it can really bring a team together.
The problem I have is the frequency with which Rollins says these things.
Eventually they get played out. Repeatedly saying these things can only bring negative publicity to a franchise, something that the Phillies don't want.
When free agency comes around, the Phillies' front office is going to be an extremely busy group of people.
Although they won 102 games, Philadelphia has some needs they have to address if they want to make another World Series run.
The Phillies will be working extremely hard to get some offensive firepower in free agency. They will likely look to bring in an outfielder to replace Raul Ibanez, as I expect John Mayberry to play first base early in the season.
Charlie Manuel has also made it known that he would like an upgrade at third base over Placido Polanco, although that may be unlikely. With the status of Ryan Madson in the air, it is certain that you can expect one, if not two additions to the back end of the Phillies' bullpen
Although the Phillies have depleted some of their farm system in recent trades, they have a shortstop they are very high on in Freddy Galvis.
Between Double-A and Triple-A this season, Galvis hit .278, had eight home runs and stole 23 bases. Although he is still raw when it comes to his offense, defensively Galvis seems to be ready to play in the majors and a long-term extension for Rollins would block him from coming up.
A more reasonable option is for the Phillies to sign a veteran to a one- or two-year deal, giving Galvis time to develop at the plate, and have him as your shortstop of the future.
Like we couldn't give the Mets another reason to hate us, right? A superstar of their own, Jose Reyes, is near the top of most Phillies fans wish lists.
I'm sorry to let most of you down, but I don't think the Phillies aren't too serious about bringing Reyes into the fold, for some of the same reasons as Jimmy Rollins.
Reyes, who will also ask for a monumental contract, has had various injuries over his career and may not be the best fit into the Phillies' locker room.
Although strictly from a purely baseball perspective, Reyes to Philly makes sense, there are too many cons and not enough pros to back that move.
There you have it folks. I would like to take this time to thank you all for reading my first article, and feel free to share your opinions and comments on everything Phillies.