A rift in the Philadelphia Phillies’ front office?

Despite trade rumors, Rollins is his upbeat self.

Despite trade rumors, Rollins is his regular upbeat self.

On Wednesday morning after batting practice, Jimmy Rollins was his typical self, relaxed and not irritated.  An ESPN.com report that officials in the Philadelphia Phillies want him to step up or be traded did not phase Rollins for one reason.

“They can’t trade me, it doesn’t matter”, said the shortstop before the Phillies played the Toronto Blue Jays.

One person that was irritated by the report was general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.  Amaro called the report “absolutely silly” before giving Rollins his support.  That does not sound like someone that wants Rollins gone as the report suggested.  It raises the question as to whether there is a disagreement among those in the front office about the direction of the team.

As much of a distraction Rollins has been the past week, Amaro stood by his shortstop.  Amaro told the media, “One of the ways we’re going to be able to win is with Jimmy being Jimmy.”

Again, Amaro’s backing of Rollins should remove any thought that he is one of the officials that spoke in the report.  The general manager is not one to leak anything to the media; if anything Amaro often keeps information from the media.  The report will no doubt cause some conflict in the Phillies’ front office as an irate Amaro called the report a distraction, dangerous, and untrue.  This report could possibly be related to when the Phillies reported two of their draft picks to the NCAA.  In my article about the situation, I suggested that a rogue employee could have possibly reported the players, and it could be a similar situation with Rollins.

An official within the organization could be tired of Rollins’ attitude and has decided to take things into his own hands.  One of Amaro’s advisers could have used the report so that he could be heard, despite no name being attached to the report.   While Amaro ultimately has final say on personnel moves, he does not make the decisions by himself.  It is clear that he wants Rollins to remain with the Phillies, but is he the only one?

ESPN’s Buster Olney, who wrote the report, claimed that according to sources there is a strong sentiment within the Phillies organization to trade Rollins.  If there is a strong sentiment, then Amaro would be the odd man out rather than a potential rogue employee.  He already is disliked by fans, and it is possible that those within the organization believe that Amaro’s time as GM is up.  It is easy to see how this is a possibility, not so much that Amaro is hated within the organization, but that the thought within the organization is that Amaro should go.

Pence is one of Amaro's moves that hasn't panned out.

Pence is one of Amaro’s moves that hasn’t panned out.

Since taking over as general manager for Pat Gillick in 2009, the Phillies have progressively finished worse each year.  After winning the World Series in 2008, they lost the World Series in 2009, the NLCS in 2010, and then the NLDS in 2011.  All three teams were successful, with the 2011 team setting the franchise record for wins.  However after 2011, the team finished 81-81 in 2012, and then the following year finished even worse with a  73-89 record.  Many of the moves that Amaro has made the last few years have not panned out, for example, trading for Hunter Pence or making Johnathan Papelbon the highest paid reliever of all-time.  He has also made good moves, such as acquiring Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, but the bad outweighs the good.

Ultimately, it does not matter who wants Rollins traded or not, because the shortstop has full no-trade rights.  He has stated that he will veto any trade the Phillies attempt to make, making it irrelevant that there is a sentiment in the organization that he should be traded.  Even if Amaro is in the minority of wanting Rollins to stay, he has the final say.  Despite that, Amaro is likely gone at the end of the season if the Phillies finish with a losing record once again.  At that point, the reported sentiment of wanting Rollins gone is more likely to become a reality.

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  • Harry Armstrong

    Seems to me that the Phillies went from a really good team to a bunch of overpaid underachievers. It isn’t the main office, its the players. If they played like they are paid, everyone would be a happy camper.