Manuel Finally Benches Rollins

Hat tip to The Good Phight via Delaware Online:

Jimmy Rollins is not in the Phillies lineup for tonight’s series finale against the Rays and will not start Friday’s game in Toronto.

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Rollins met with Phillies manager Charlie Manuel this afternoon for about 10 minutes just before the lineup was posted.

“I want to sit him down and get him right,” Manuel said. “He’s trying to do too many things instead of staying relaxed. He’s definitely thinking about how he wants to help out the team. I think it’s just time to sit him.”

Manuel said that when Rollins returns to the lineup, he will bat leadoff.

Rollins has a slash line of .211/.254/.328 and has an OPS+ of 51. Even Abraham Nunez’s numbers (career 62 OPS+) aren’t this bad.

It’s a good decision to give Rollins a couple days off to focus on fixing whatever ails him, but it’s not a good choice to put him right back in the lead-off spot. When Rollins proves he’s over his slump, then he can be moved up, but until then, he’s simply hurting the offense.

The single-season record for outs made in a season by a hitter is 560 (in 745 plate appearances) by Omar Moreno in 1980. Rollins currently has made 249 outs in 320 PA. If he gets 745 PA this season, he’s on pace to make 580 outs.

Rollins is already tied for 18th on the single-season list with 527 outs made in his highly-productive 2007 season. The only two other active players above him are Jose Reyes (536 outs in 2005) and Juan Pierre (532 outs in 2006).

With Rollins missing the next couple games, don’t expect big changes in the Phillies’ offensive production. While the lineup is slightly better-constructed, Eric Bruntlett will be in the lineup. It’s like switching from rough brand of toilet paper to another rough brand: it really chaps your ass.

. . .

It’s Almost Time

Let’s see what the Phillies have been up to in the trade rumors.

Ken Rosenthal:

The Phillies have also asked about [Cleveland Indians left-handed starter Cliff] Lee, but balked at the price, sources say.

Jayson Stark:

The six young players the Phillies wouldn’t listen on, the same official said: outfielder Dominic Brown, catcher Lou Marson, and pitchers Kyle Drabek, Jason Knapp, Carlos Carrasco and Antonio Bastardo.

Look, I know Lou Marson and Joe Savery and Jason Knapp are enticing prospects, but this current Phillies team is really only built to compete for a World Series within the next two years or so. None of those players will be reliable and productive enough to seamlessly transition from the current batch to those waiting in the Minors.

So, the Phillies should do whatever they can to get some impact players and go for it all in the next two years. The only two players I’d be hesitant to trade are Dominic Brown and Kyle Drabek, but if the Indians insist on getting Brown in a trade for Cliff Lee, then so be it, I’m giving up Brown.

New York Post:

I hear that a few weeks back Colorado and Philadelphia were seriously discussing a deal that would have sent lefty J.A. Happ and prospects to the Rockies for Jason Marquis and Ryan Spilborghs. That would have given the Phillies an innings-eating starter and a good righty bat, elements they crave. The Phillies actually would like to do better when it comes to a starter than Marquis. But that market has been drying up with injuries to Jake Peavy and Erik Bedard, and continuing indication that the Astros will not trade Roy Oswalt.

Colorado would have received Happ, a controllable starter (Marquis is a free agent at the end of the year) with some upside plus the prospects plus some financial flexibility since they are paying most of the $9.875 million Marquis is making this year. So the Rockies would have had some dollars to make an acquisition or two if they got back in the race. Colorado likes Spilborghs, but felt with Seth Smith playing well in the majors and Matt Murton excelling at Triple-A that his righty bat could have been replaced.

But as talks were heating up on this deal, the Rockies took off. And once they took off they felt it would be wrong to make a trade that would be interpreted as surrender in the clubhouse and among the fan base. So they tabled talks and now Colorado is quietly out in the marketplace seeing if it can find a veteran reliever.

After 2007, I don’t think I’d ever say this, but here goes: Thank you Rockies, for winning a ridiculous amount of games in a short period of time.

When you consider that they were also giving up Happ in the deal, acquiring Marquis is a sideways move at best, and is really a step backwards. Spilborghs, if his acquisition meant that Chris Coste would have been designated for assignment, would have been a plus, but Paul Bako likely would have gotten the thumb over the shoulder motion.

As mentioned by the Post, the wealth of injuries to star trade-bait pitchers like Peavy and Halladay has really dried up what could have been a very active trade market. Cleveland, who has Mark DeRosa along with Lee, is by far the Phillies’ best match as a trade partner, and if I’m GM Ruben Amaro, I’m doing whatever I can to get both Lee and DeRosa.

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