March 20, 2014
By Nick Tricome
Donovan McNabb will forever be regarded as one of the better quarterbacks in Philadelphia football history, but even he was forced to deal with fledgling fan support during his final years as people grew weary of his attitude and personality.
McNabb overstayed his welcome in Philadelphia and it seems now the same can be said of Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins.
ESPN's Buster Olney reported Tuesday that several influential people within the Phillies organization want Rollins to be a better leader. The report mentioned the team will shop him around if he fails to comply.
Rollins has been a vital piece of the Phillies lineup for 14 years. He knows what bad years are like, but he's also experienced success.
Confidence never has been an issue.
Yet, despite his ability and confidence, Rollins has drawn the ire of many. His brush-ups with managers Larry Bowa and Charlie Manuel are well documented. He's been benched on numerous occasions over the past decade for selfish miscues, be it not running out grounders and pop-ups, or arriving late to the clubhouse and blaming traffic.
But while Rollins’ flaws generated some buzz and resonated with fans, they were overlooked by the organization because the team was winning.
That's not the case now.
Rollins had the worst offensive season of his career last year, hitting .252 with a .666 OPS in 600 plate appearances.
"His declining skills and occasional lackadaisical approach is something teams know about," said one American League scout. "He's a tough sell for a team that likely is entering a rebuilding phase, but a contender may not want any part of his attitude."
Rollins is in the final guaranteed year of a three-year, $33 million deal and as a 10-and-5 player has the right to veto any trade. He's eligible for free agency after this year but has a vesting option if he reaches 600 plate appearances.
He's made it clear he wants to finish his career in Philadelphia, but circumstances may dictate otherwise if he ignores the prodding from Sandberg and others within the organization to take on a leadership role.
With Freddy Galvis penciled in on the depth chart, Rollins and the Phillies have hit a crossroad.
Rollins has already cemented himself as one of the most productive players in Phillies' history, but that doesn't mean a change in scenery and an amicable split would be a bad thing.
After all, Nick Foles has done a pretty decent job across the street.
- This article originally appeared in the Philadelphia Baseball Review. You can see this article as well as other Philadelphia baseball content by clicking here.
(Photo from ESPN.com)