Revisiting the Jimmy Rollins Contract

Shortstop Jimmy Rollins is wrapping up year two of his three-year, $33 million contract signed back in December 2011. At the time, I wrote it was “a huge coup” for the Phillies considering he potentially could have gotten more money and more years elsewhere had his options not vanished when other players signed. Additionally, the Phillies were bereft of other options to fill the position, with an unproven, light-hitting Freddy Galvis being the only player even in the conversation.

2012 was a typical year for the older Rollins, finishing with 2.4 Wins Above Replacement according to Baseball Reference. It was his third consecutive season posting a WAR in the 2.0 (average) to 2.5 range. On the open market, a 2-WAR player is worth about $10 million, so he was paid equivalent to his value last year.

This season has been a different story. Rollins has lost nearly 35 points in wOBA, dropping from .322 to .288. His power has been halved as his ISO dropped from .177 to .093. He continues to strike out at a rate we hadn’t seen since 2003. After stealing 30 bases each in 2011-12, in 38 and 35 attempts respectively, he has stolen 20 in 26 attempts this season. FanGraphs credited him with eight base running runs last year but just 2.5 this year. And by all accounts — scouting, stats, and otherwise — Rollins is having the worst defensive season of his career.

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