For 13 seasons, Jimmy Rollins has manned the shortstop position for the Philadelphia Phillies. One of the main reasons for the Phillies success this past decade is due to Rollins being a five-tool player for the team. However, as the saying goes, all good things come to an end, and Rollins’ contract runs out after this season unless the vesting option kicks in. In order for that to happen, he must have 600 plate appearances in 2014 or 1,100 combined in 2013 and 2014. If he does not reach the requirements, it may leave the Phillies looking elsewhere for a shortstop. They may not have to look far however, with Freddy Galvis as a possible candidate to take over.
For quite a few years now Galvis has been considered a future starter for the Phillies, provided that his offense improves. He is one of the best, if not the best defensive infielder in the organization, and has flashed plenty of leather during his time in the majors. However, Galvis has struggled to provide the same offensive spark the Phillies are used to Rollins providing. However, in the past two seasons Galvis has only appeared in 128 games, which means his career numbers are not even the equivalent of a full season. It gives some hope that Galvis can become better than his .230 average in the majors.
Another thing to keep in mind is the recent praise that Galvis received from manager Ryne Sandberg. Sandberg praised the young infielder’s energy, and said that he brought a positive influence to the players around him. Both of these qualities are something that is needed in a Phillies clubhouse that has become complacent due to their five year playoff run. If the team wants to return to the playoffs they will need the energy and attitude they had when they won it all in 2008, and Galvis could help to bring it.
Rollins was the one who brought the energy and attitude to the Phillies back when they won the World Series in 2008. However, that is not so much the case in recent years. Rollins has long been the catalyst of the Phillies, as he went, so did the team’s offense. This was especially true last season, when the offense struggled while Rollins had the worst year of his career. His attitude has not helped either, as this past week he created controversy when he said “who cares?” in response to a question about the offense’s futility this spring. The answer to the question is that Sandberg cares. Rollins was then benched for the next three games, and discussed his comments with Sandberg. The benching sends a clear message that the complacency that has set in the last few years will not be accepted.
The immediate future at shortstop will be determined this season as Rollins should reach 600 plate appearances. However, the team had reportedly tried to move Rollins this past offseason, and could try to once again following this season. Galvis also must prove he can hit major league pitching if he wishes to be considered a candidate to take over at shortstop in the future. Regardless of who is playing shortstop, the Phillies need production from the position, and the best bet is for Rollins to bounce back after a lackluster 2013.