MLB Free Agents: Jimmy Rollins Deal a Steal for Philadelphia Phillies

Avi Wolfman-ArentCorrespondent IIDecember 17, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 02: Jimmy Rollins #11 of the Philadelphia Phillies fields the ball during Game Two of the National League Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Citizens Bank Park on October 2, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Cardinals won 5-4.  (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

For all the mounting criticism directed at Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr.—he traded Cliff Lee, overpaid Ryan Howard, failed to extend Cole Hamels (so far)—he and the franchise made out beautifully in the just-announced re-signing of incumbent shortstop Jimmy Rollins.

The Phillies gave Rollins a three-year deal worth $33 million with a vesting option fourth year. From the get-go, Rollins wanted a five-year deal and the Phillies felt they couldn't go higher than three.

In the end, the Phillies got their man at their price. For a team with scant alternatives, the deal validates Amaro's hard line and keeps Philadelphia's window for a third championship open for the next few years.

And for those preoccupied with Rollins' shortcomings—pops up too much, doesn't see enough pitches, takes plays off—the stats tell the story.

Here are Rollins' ranks among major league shortstops over the last five seasons in the major player value categories:

WAR: 5th

HR: 5th

RBI: 5th

Walks: 7th

SB: 2nd


SLG%: 5th

OPS : 5th

The argument against Rollins is largely one of passion and inference. But looking at the numbers, it's clear Rollins is one of the best at his craft.

Add to all that the fact that Rollins has been one of the league's most valuable defenders and efficient base runners, and I'd say the Phillies just got one of the league's better shortstops for a mighty reasonable price.

Even accounting for the indignities of old age, Rollins figures to be one of baseball's ten best at his position over the life of his contract.

All of it amounts to tremendous value for a team built to compete for a World Series over the next few seasons.

The Phillies made sure his talents stayed planted in South Philadelphia and secured a franchise great through the waning years of his decorated career. Bravo.