Jimmy Rollins Named To World Baseball Classic Roster
Should Phillie fans be excited?
Sure, he's one of only three returners from the 2009 team, with former Phillie Shane Victorino and Milwaukee's Ryan Braun, and Rollins will start at shortstop, where he won a Gold Glove last year. He's also the only Phillie named to the team.
But what are the merits of the nod?
Troy Tulowitzki would've been named to the team had he been cleared by WBC evaluators. (He wasn't.) Derek Jeter was only recently cleared to return to baseball activities, for later this month. Both would've started over Rollins.
And can a 34-year-old's body take it?
The last time he participated, he still managed to play in 155 games the following season. His average numbers dipped -- from .277/.349/.437 to .250/.296/.423 -- but his home run numbers swelled, from 11 to 21.
The following season, though, Rollins suffered that devastating calf injury that cost him three months -- he appeared in just 88 games in 2010. He was on pace for about 15 home runs, but hit just .243/.320/.374 that season.
Still, in the field in 2009, Rollins posted a career-best .990 fielding percentage. In three seasons since, only three shortstops in baseball -- Baltimore's J.J. Hardy (.992, .990 in 2012, 2011) and Tulowitzki (.991 in 2011) -- have fielded as well.
Ultimately -- if there's any correlation, and assuming Rollins takes extra preventative measures for 2014, when he'll earn $13 million before free agency -- there are positives here.
The Phillies will appreciate the fielding help for a starting pitching triplet and closer slated to earn $76.5 million this season, and if Rollins can maintain his home run total from a year ago, 23, a lineup light on power will benefit.
Plus, a marked dip in average and on-base potential over a long enough span for Ben Revere to cozy up to teammates and Charlie Manuel might provide the perfect backdrop for a switch at the lead-off spot.
Don't think anybody'd be arguing that.