The Dip: Two Players, Too Much Alike – Phillies Nation

The Dip: Two Players, Too Much Alike

This is “The Dip,” a column penned by our own commenter, The Dipsy.

If you look at the statistics of Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins over the last three years or so you will realize that they are strikingly similar. In fact, their offensive games nearly mirror one another. In a given year, you can expect 10-15 hrs, 60 rbis, .270 and 40 SBs from each one. Now these are good numbers, especially when you consider that the two don’t play what are generally considered to be big offensive positions. When you add the fact that both Rollins and Victorino are exceptional defensive players, one would think that any manager would be happy to write their names on the lineup card everyday. But not so fast.

On most of the teams in baseball, both of these guys would be asked to be offensive stalwarts for their teams. But the Phillies are not most teams and they’re offensive engine for the last three years have been Utley, Howard, and Werth. That said, the guys surrounding those three should be focused on getting on base, getting in scoring position, and helping to get other guys in scoring position. Guys like this were once referred to as “tablesetters”. The Phils need Rollins and Victorino to be those guys but their games’ just are not suited to that role.

Residing in the shadows of the traditional measurable offensive statistics are the duo’s inability or unwillingness to do the other things a strong offensive team requires from the top of the lineup. Neither of them walk. Neither of them bunt. Their OBPs are atrocious. Neither of them are effective at moving runners. Groundouts always seem to go the shortstop when a guy is on second with no outs. Flyouts never seem to go far enough to turn into sacrifice flies. Jimmy’s season high in SFs is 7. Shane has 11…for his career. In short, when these two are not hitting balls in the gaps when they can run real fast and get triples, while everyone stares agog admiring the raw talent, they do very little to move a lineup along and create RBI opportunities. While their numbers may look good at the end of the season, Shane and Jimmy spend as much of their at bats being anemic as they do being dynamic (I know they don’t rhyme, but its close). For this reason, one of them has got to go.

There is a lot to praise about their respective skill sets. They are not bad offensive ball players. They are not going to change nor should they be asked to. I write here that the repetition of their inadequacies in this lineup contributes greatly to the bouts of stagnation this offense suffers through every season. When we hear the common refrain that this team “can’t play small ball” and “if they’re not hitting home runs, they’re not scoring”, you can point directly at Shane and Jimmy as the main reason why that is. I hate the phrase “productive out”, but I guess its part of the lexicon now, so that said – these two don’t make any. To me, this lineup would work a lot better with a guy who might give you less of the speed and the triples and the SB’s but would instead offer you a higher batting average, better “situational hitting”, and the desire to work a walk. A manufactured run counts just as much as a home run and the Phillies don’t get them. They need more scratch runs if they are going to avoid the prolonged slumps that have plagued them in recent seasons and allow them to realize their full offensive potential.

Who to trade? Because he plays the most expendable position of the two, and because the Phils would get good value back, and because the Phils wouldn’t have to eat any cash: I trade Shane.



  1. bacardipr05

    November 18, 2010 at 1:02 am

    Eh! but are they more a product of coaching/managerial styles…? Eh!

  2. brooks

    November 18, 2010 at 1:04 am

    Dipsy, I don’t agree. Isn’t what you are posting the position that Poly was supposed to fill? How much difference did Poly make in the lineup? If anything, the team did worse offensively this year than the previous 4.

    Furthermore, I do agree about moving runners and just getting on base. Wouldn’t you contribute a lot of that to the manager and his ‘expectations’ or ‘demands’ upon his players?

    One more thing, before this year Shane seemed to be a shoo-in for a .280-.290 BA where with Jimmy its been feast or famine as of late (more famine). I would still keep both. If things need to change and you want to keep Poly where he’s batting (2nd), have the managers stress just what you said – that SHOULD produce more runs, right?

  3. Andrew from waldorf

    November 18, 2010 at 1:48 am

    Why does he get a column and not me? Thats a joke Dipsy. Glad you took the time no matter hwo misguided you are 🙂

    Defense up the middle (C,2B,SS,CF) is the second most important thing in baseball. Pitching being the first.

    There are only 2 players on the phillies roster now who if they got traded id be upset. Roy Halladay and Carlos Ruiz.

    If they traded both Jimmy and Sahne and Utley and got adequate defensive replacements Id not have a problem with it.

    But I think they go one more year with this bunch (minus Werth and plus Brown). This is it. Win it all or its a bad season. Sucks being that way but thats how it is.

  4. Andrew from waldorf

    November 18, 2010 at 1:53 am

    I do take comfort that Pat posts these for Dipsy and he doesnt have keys to the entire website.

    It is always best to trade a player a year to soon than a year too late.
    Trade Shane thats fine. Trade jimmy thats fine.
    Trade Howard and build a statue for RAJ. Maybe we can hope Texiera got hurt and we could pawn him off the Yankees. But I dont see it happening.

  5. Lefty

    November 18, 2010 at 7:24 am

    Dipsy- nice job with the pen as usual, I always enjoy your work. I get your point, but (have a problem with it.

    I sacrifice offense for defense any day of the week. It’s like Brooks said yesterday about Mark Belanger, only not as extreme. Belanger couldn’t hit a lick, but becasue he was a great shortstop, he contributed to some great teams. In our case the two guys are not brutally bad hitters, just not the ideal tablesetters. If you want to trade our Gold Glove centerfielder or former GG shortstop fine, but the team will pay dearly defensively, even if you do get the ultimate small baller in his place. Andrew is right about defense up the middle. It was critical to our success this season, especially because we didn’t hit well.

    What does that leave as an option? We could use a speedy corner outfielder that could put the ball in play, bunt and take walks. His name is Ichiro, but we ain’t getting him.

  6. Ted Bell

    November 18, 2010 at 7:49 am

    What we’re talking about here were once called the fundamentals of the sport. Unfortunately, with the popularity of Sports Center and big money contracts based soley on power numbers, players would rather make a highlight reel with a three run HR than hit the ball to the right side to advance a runner or lay down a bunt. The Phillies have been trying to get Rollins to change his game for a full decade now, and despite what some people think he’s not going to suddenly change his game in year 11 – contract season or not. The team itself once built a marketing campaign around their “power hitting shortstop” (Hit it to me, J-Roll!), so they deserve part of the blame.

    I’m Ted Bell.

  7. The Dipsy

    November 18, 2010 at 7:57 am

    I would never trade Jimmy. He is too important defensively. It seems that you guys think that we would get chopped liver in exchange for Shane in a trade. I would make sure the player we would get back would be good defensively. Do you guys think I’m stupid? Poly can do all the small ball stuff that he wants but he can’t do it when nobody is on base. The truth of the matter is this offense needs a change. Shane’s game does not fit with this offense. RE: Mark Belanger. This is a guy that had Frank Robinson, Boog Powell, Paul Blair, Brooks Robinson and possibly he greatest starting rotation of the last 50 years. Its a little different. But, in defense of Belanger, while he was a poor hitter, at least he would sacrifice, sacrifice bunt, and move the ball the other way, etc. Those things are important and someone has to do it. With Jimmy and Shane, its feast or famine. They walk up to the plate and if its not a triple or double its a groundout or a pop up. Ryan, Jimmy, and Jayson were the same way. And some of it is on Charlie. And while we are on Belanger, Charlie manages exactly like Earl Weaver.

    In short, I look at guys like Poly as the grease that keeps the gears of the offensive machine going. And we don’t have enough grease. My kingdom for a walk, a steal, and a grounder to second, and a sac fly and a run. I don’t want the team to play like the 85 Cardinals but I want them to have the capacity to do if they need to. And they don’t.

    The Dipsy

  8. bfo_33

    November 18, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Dipsy, nice write up. Neither one is an ideal lead-off guy. One of the strange things about the two last year was their utter inability to make good contact batting from the left. Both hit more than 40 points below their career averages from the left side. Since over 60 % of starting pitchers are righties, this had a major impact last year. Was it a blip (in Jimmy’s case, it may also be due to a small sample size), or did they take a different approach?

    I also agree with the conclusion. Shane gets a lot of press for his web gem catches, but last year was really his first good year in center (even then, he’s not one of he top 3 centerfielders, although his lines have improved, their still not consistent, but the guys who vote on golden gloves are either lazy or stupid). Shane’s defense is replaceable, he has a better rep than actual performance, a reasonable contract, and will probably suffer the most from losing Lopes (Rollins has always been a good baserunner/base stealer). Rollins, on the other hand, is one of the best defensive shortstops in the league, but only has one year left, so not going to get much in a trade.

    The bottom line – what do you get? I’d be good with trading Shane for a solid ss or 3rd baseman and pitching prospect IF we keep Werth, but as of right now, we’ve got a right fielder with a ton of raw talent, but does not play good d yet, a left fielder with very limited range (especially to his left), and no one on the farm ready to come up to play center. With that in mind, I think both are here for 2011.

  9. Ted Bell

    November 18, 2010 at 8:39 am

    Rumor of the day: Conlin is hinting that there may be something big (involving core players) brewing with an AL West team…

    I’m Ted Bell.

  10. Bart Shart

    November 18, 2010 at 9:57 am

    if we can get something solid in return, I agree that Victorino should be moved. Hate to see him go, but I do agree that we need to do something to ignite this offense.

  11. Geoff

    November 18, 2010 at 10:48 am

    I read the article, he refers to the A’s & Angels, but he also could be joking, its hard to tell in print sometimes with no voice inflection.

    However, if there is something brewing involving trading away one of our core players out west somewhere then I am ALL FOR IT – because one of that gang needs to get shipped off out of here. I agree with Dispy – Rollins & Vic are the same type of hitter, and we need a different type at this point, so one of those would be the obvious choice to go.

  12. Geoff

    November 18, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Also, Carlos Quentin is NOT the type of player the Phillies need. Questionable defense, LOW batting average (career .250’s hitter) with decent power numbers. Still, a batting average that poor with poor defense wont cut it on this team. I would not touch Quentin unless it was for almost nothing as a last resort. I would rather sign Franceour than him actually.

  13. brooks

    November 18, 2010 at 10:56 am

    “The key to winning baseball games is pitching, fundamentals, and three run homers.” – Earl Weaver

    “Nobody likes to hear it, because it’s dull, but the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.”

    “On my tombstone just write, ‘The sorest loser that ever lived.’”

    “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”

    “The only thing that matters is what happens on the little hump out in the middle of the field.”

    “No one’s gonna give a damn in July if you lost a game in March.”

  14. Chuck

    November 18, 2010 at 11:00 am

    I agree with this. Trade Shane.

  15. The Dipsy

    November 18, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Chuck! My man! It does my heart good and pleases me to no end to see us agree on at least one thing in life 🙂

    The Dipsy

  16. brooks

    November 18, 2010 at 11:09 am

    “I hated to bat against Drysdale. After he hit you he’d come around, look at the bruise on your arm and say, ‘Do you want me to sign it?’”

    Mickey Mantle

  17. Chuck

    November 18, 2010 at 11:25 am

    We probably agree on more than we both realize…or care to admit.

    (I still think Raul has greatly helped the Phillies, though.)

  18. Bacardipr05

    November 18, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Shane was never really suppose to be the lead-off guy that was J-Rolls job silly rabbits…

  19. Publius

    November 18, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Mon dieu, a Dipsy article quoting *gasp* OBP?! I am shocked, SHOCKED I SAY.

    It is an interesting premise, I will grant that. However, I would argue that rather than trade them, the team should focus on putting them at the right spot in the lineup. All contact/no patience/mediocre power guys belong in the 7 and 8 spots, while your higher OBPs deserve to be at the top. A lineup with Polly at the top (I know, a .339 OBP isn’t dazzling, but it’s better than Shane’s and Jimmy’s) and Ruiz second would generate more people on base for when the big bats come up. Granted, this would create a geriatric row of Ibanez/Rollins/Victorino at 6-7-8, but on the whole it will generate more runs for the Phils.

    Rather than sell low on them, ride them out through at least the first half of next year and see if Jimmy can stay healthy and put Victorino at 8th, where his skills belong.

  20. The Dipsy

    November 18, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Pub – Last year I advocated that the Glimmer Twins be moved down to 6 and 7 so they could swing away and when they did get on base, steal every chance they got, and stand a decent chance that Ibanez could knock one of them in every once in awhile. I know it looks strange.


    The Dipsy

    p.s. OBP has always been an old school stat. Not a baseball card stat, but its been around for about 25 years.

    The Dipsy

  21. Chuck

    November 18, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    I think you could sell high on Shane right now.

  22. Andrew R.

    November 18, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    I think Shane is over-rated. I love him on this team, but how many times does he get spun around out there in CF? Too many for my liking. I think this is the best time to trade him. Definately need a third-base prospect a year or two away and some extra pitching is always nice. We’d be saving about $7M this year and $9M next year. The only thing that makes me hesitant is Jimmy’s health these last couple of years, but he seems determined to train harder this off-season to be more durable.

  23. The Dipsy

    November 18, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    I was thinking trading Shane for another CF, if possible, with a different skill set. I mean, someone has to play CF and who would it be?

    The Dipsy

  24. psujoe

    November 18, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    The problem with trading Shane is he’s one of the Phillies best hitters against LH pitching. You make a challenged lineup against lefties even worse. He had a .380 OBP and a 321 average against lefties.

    Link to the Conlin article?

  25. George

    November 18, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    The REAL problem with trading Shane is that you’re not going to get another center fielder; it would be stupid for a team to trade a guy who plays the same position unless they’re sure to get someone better, so whoever the Phils got in a trade would likely suck. You’d have to get prospects, but that leaves no-one left in the outfield when Werth leaves.

  26. psujoe

    November 18, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Carlos Quentin, Yuk! .212 lifetime hitter against lefties.

  27. Ted Bell

    November 18, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Conlin’s column is at

    I agree that Shane has trade value, but all this talk of trading him is a bit premature. He’s actually the only known quantity that the Phillies have in the outfield right now. Both corners are huge question marks. They’d really need to be getting an outfielder in return, and as Dipsy said, preferably a centerfielder.

    I’m Ted Bell.

  28. Chuck

    November 18, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    IF…and it’s a big IF…Werth becomes more attractive to the Phillies (let’s say Boras’ present demands can’t be met)…

    Then HE could play CF…making Shane expendable.

    But it would all have to neatly fall into place at the same time…which is unlikely…

    ….or maybe not………..

  29. Phylan

    November 18, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    I would go so far as to say trading Shane, Werth in center, Ibanez/some platoon partner in left and Brown in right would be ideal. The likelihood of that happening is very low, though.

  30. Lefty

    November 18, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Chuck, it is unlikely with Werth, but in that situation and only then would I consider letting Shane go.

    Dipsy- I don’t think we get an equal or better CF for him, why would another team do that? For example just to pick a name, why would Houston trade Bourn back to us for Shane, it makes no sense for them unless we give them, I don’t know- Brown, or Oswalt back.

  31. Lefty

    November 18, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Also Dipsy- I thought you were the one all summer trumpeting Werth batting leadoff, not Utley as you posted today. And I agreed with you. If I’m wrong, sorry my bad. If it wasn’t you, who was it that kept posting lineups with Werth batting first?

  32. Chuck

    November 18, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Wow…Phylan actually agrees with something I said.

    And to clarify….yes…I know that the Werth scenario has about as much a chance of happening as the Sixers making the playoffs anytime soon.

    Well….maybe a little better chance.

  33. The Dipsy

    November 18, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Left – I switched back and forth. Utley has the high OBP too and Werth batting third would have given Ryan a RH bat in front of him.

    Actually, we could take back a CF who is comparable in value to Vic, but does different things, for instance, a guy that goes 5/50/20/.285 but knows how to bunt, has a higher OBP, and can play hit and run with. There is LITTLE bit of chemistry that goes in a lineup.

    The DIpsy

  34. psujoe

    November 18, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Ted Bell, Thanks for posting the link.

    I’d love for the Phillies to get their hands on one of those young A’s pitchers, starter or reliever. They have some darn good young talent.

  35. Phan in the outfield

    November 18, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    It might have a better chance if anyone puts stock in rumors. Apparently the GM mtgs produced some talk re things looking better about Werth re-signing. lol What a joke all the talk is at this point.

    Agree or not: nicely done Dipsy. The article & posts are all interesting. I like Shane but I’ve also felt he was overrated & said so. He’s the dramatic type jumping, diving, spinning, rolling, backing up. Just mark the ball, watch, catch, throw. Jeeze. But I guess people like that. 3 Gold Gloves – really.

    Jimmy had a tough season all around. Though he had his share of errors, he also had some beautiful moments of fine defense (WHEN he played). I can’t believe we wouldn’t get more for Shane & with the 3rd Gold Glove (& Jimmy’s injury riddled season) Shane’s value has to be higher. So I guess, provided Werth is re-signed, Shane should go.

    Lefty: I was remembering the same thing, someone wanting Werth to bat 1st (at least the way he was hitting last season).

  36. Geoff

    November 18, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    What is unacceptable for Conlin is that you cant start a rumour like that and then not follow up or clarify it. Be a reporter or shut your mouth and dont start snippity rumours like that.

  37. Andrew from waldorf

    November 18, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    They have to move people
    Put all your favorites. Schmidt Carlton Utley Howard out there.
    They have to move older players or welcome to Yankeedom and 300 million pay rolls and 1 title since 2000. 1 less than the marlins.
    Move them all Ruben.
    Id give a kidney to have Adam Dunn at first over 0 RBI
    Move em

  38. Phan in the outfield

    November 18, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Geoff: That’s the problem I have. Conlin isn’t alone. They all function this way. The public has no idea if one syllable of what they’re telling us has any basis in fact. The truth is they know if they sling enough crap some of it will stick & later they’ll seem as if they reported actual facts. Sometimes what they report is harmful to people & their families, more often it’s just lazy on their part.

    But the real point is to validate what you’re saying in some way: they don’t need to give a full name or even initials. At least say ‘a mid-level administrative employee’, or ‘a higher up in the org’, or Deep Throat’s nephew or SOMETHING. They’re the reporters — think of a descriptive title or phrase that tells us the info-giver actually knows what they’re talking about. Do the work as if you’re a real reporter.

    It seems like journalism has been allowed to function this way my whole life under the First Amendment & freedom of the press: ostensibly, if they say who their snitch is, the snitch will get fired (in criminal cases, perhaps worse). Well of course they will & everyone understands. But at least try & find a way to substantiate your statements & alleged info, otherwise your “info” is nothing but a rumor and what you’re writing is exactly worthy of the National Enquirer. Trash.

  39. Geoff

    November 18, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    They don’t need to reveal their sources, not saying that. But dont mention some half off statement like he does there. If you want to start a rumour, put some effort into it, not like one sentence.

    The media has no obligation to report the truth, and that has been proven in a Supreme Court case, so don’t ever forget that. Its about business, ratings, other agendas, etc.

    But this lazy journalism by Conlin here is annoying.

  40. Bob in Bucks

    November 18, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    I agree with everything that Dipsy said except that I would move JRoll before Vic. However, I am open to either. My reason for trading JRoll is that this is his contract year and he is cheap relative to other SS and his historical performance. In other words, you can’t trade him next year unless you sign him for multiple years which means he will not be as attractive.

    We need to move some money off the payroll and JRoll, although great with the PR, is not contributing other than with his glove. We have someone just as good, if not better, in Valdez. Amaro can find a prospect SS and I think this is the place to start.

    Victorino’s salary is about true market value so we don’t get as much in a trade.

    Either way, we need baserunners, not pop-ups.

  41. Phan in the outfield

    November 18, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    Geoff: Yep, I know about the press. I spent yrs working w/them. I take everything w/a ‘grain of salt’ whether on tv or in print, Time Mag, the NY Times, People Mag, all the same. Doesn’t everyone think they have their own “truth” now? No black & white anymore.

    It was my understanding at least with the hard news media they felt they had an obligation to gather & report straight info a/k/a “news”, not rumor. When they didn’t have a sound foundation or a solid source they said so. They say things like; ‘my source(s) IN the White House tell me . . .’ or when they don’t know; ‘the talk on Capital Hill is . . .’ which is said b/c they don’t have a direct source. It’s done b/c they go under the guise of being knowledgeable, or in touch with those who are knowledgeable. Why bother doing the job if you don’t do these things? Their ability to know where & how to research w/expediency & efficiency & their contacts make them what they are. Without those things, then stick Joe Schmoe in there w/a mic and he can make up crap all day long.

    In sports, it’s a given that w/o working for each team org they can’t have 1st-hand knowledge. But for crying out loud, please stop short of complete gossip.

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