What could have been?
Let’s go back to April, a month that had never seen Jimmy Rollins post early-season success. After the opening road trip, J-Roll was hitting .391/.516/.739 and was raking the ball. Then the home opener came around, Rollins pulled up lame during warm ups, and the early promise that he had shown was gone.
Jimmy’s season from Hell was upon us. Rollins missed 74 games due to injuries, and not surprisingly posted career lows in nearly every offensive stat. Fans kept hoping that Rollins was going to turn his offensive slumps around, but he just never got going.
Rollins slashes of .243/.320/.374 rivaled that of his backup Wilson Valdez and even led some to foolishly wonder who would be the better option in the postseason.
One thing that didn’t leave Jimmy during his struggles was his always stellar glove. J-Roll posted a 6.9 UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating), the second highest number of his career. Despite the strained calf that lingered all season, Rollins still seemed to make almost play that came his way.
The scary thing is this, do we overvalue Jimmy Rollins because we see him on a nightly basis. The last three years have not been kind to the 2007 MVP. Since winning the award, Rollins has had an average season of .256/.322/.411. Was 2007 a fluke? Or did Jimmy Rollins just get old really quick? Keep in mind 2010 was the tenth year in a row that Rollins was the everyday shortstop.
Rollins has always been a favorite of mine that I defended to all ends, but after this year it’s hard to defend him. It’s tough to be a weapon as a switch-hitter when you hit .218/.297/.360 against righties. J-Roll made a name in Philly by putting extra-base hits together at will, however this year he managed just 27 in 350 at bats.
2011 will be an interesting season for Rollins. It is the last year he is under contract, and at this point Ruben Amaro would be foolish to extend him without first seeing, what Jimmy has left in the tank. Can Rollins find the form that has been lacking for nearly two seasons, or will we see the end of Jimmy Rollins in red pinstripes?
NICK’S GRADE: 3.0/10
Tomorrow: Wilson Valdez