The biggest questions heading into this past season for the Philadelphia Phillies centered on starting pitching and the bullpen. Namely, Cole Hamels and Brad Lidge. If they performed well, the Phils would be back on the fast track to a World Series title.
Well, they did perform very well and the Phillies still got bounced out of the NLCS by the San Francisco Giants. Why? The lineup stunk.
One of the main culprits was former MVP Jimmy Rollins. Rollins posted career lows in just about every category, including a .243 batting average and .374 slugging %. Dreadful, especially for someone who thinks he’s a leadoff hitter.
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. says that the team isn’t in any hurry to extend him before his contract is up in 2011.
“I think we’ll probably let things, at this time, play out,” Amaro said.
Injuries have certainly played a part in Rollins slumping numbers, but then again that’s the kind of stuff that happens when you are 32-years old and not getting any younger.
“There’s some concern about his production the last couple of years,” Amaro said. “He’s a much better player than he’s played. We just have to make sure he’s healthy.”
Rollins is still very good on defense, but you don’t pay someone $8.5 million per year (that’s what he’s scheduled to make in 2011) to play good defense and hit below .250. Rollins had some timely hits in the NLCS, but he and the rest of the lineup just weren’t good enough. Not by a long shot.
And if he wants to make the big bucks, he’ll need to have a bounce-back season next year. I personally don’t see it happening, but we’ve seen weirder. And if the Phillies really do want things to play out, they better have a replacement option in place and don’t tell me it’s Wilson Valdez.