No one who is rational would suggest that Jimmy Rollins is a defensive liability, because he's not. Quite the opposite, this Philadelphia Phillies' icon still wears a fine glove. But, will his faded offensive abilities lead to a reduced 2014 role?
It's both fair and accurate to offer two points of contradiction when suggesting that 'J-Roll' won't be the Phillies' starting shortstop next season. The first tick involves the final guaranteed year of his contract and the other centers on the lack of any legitimate replacement options.
Rollins has 588 plate appearances (through September 10) of this year. In order for his vesting option to lock-in a guaranteed contract in 2015, he'll need to have 1,100 combined plate appearances by the end of next season.
As a 10-5 man, this 12-plus year service time veteran can deny any trade. So, the Phillies might decide that instead of being forced to retain this well-paid infielder, they could play Freddy Galvis on a more regular basis. The organization could also shift another one of its younger players to shortstop, or sign a veteran utility man who can handle that spot, as a way to create roster 'flexibility'.
Corporate baseball decisions shouldn't be based purely on emotion, or be coldly logical. A blend of both tacts often creates a balanced diamond approach.
Despite all past heroics, Rollins' future offensive potential seems increasingly limited. Unless he's able to increase his bat speed and adjust his plate approach, it would be fair to institute a semi-platoon next spring. Doing so would allow the best shortstop in Phillies' history enough time to make any needed decisions by next July's non-waiver trade deadline.