Charlie just can't see J-Roll's negatives

Charlie just can't see J-Roll's negatives

Even after a season that saw manager Charlie Manuel pull Jimmy Rollins out of a game for not hustling, the Phillies manager is still standing by J-Roll.

At their eulogy for the 2012 season, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. and manager Charlie Manuel talked about a variety of subjects. At times, the talk was very frank as when Amaro talked about the inconsistency of John Mayberry Jr. and how he doesn't know if any of the outfielders who were starting late in the season are ready for an everyday job with the team.

At other times, the two spoke in generalities. Talking about having to fill holes and play a different brand of baseball from what they played in 2012.

And sometimes, the talk was the same thing that we've heard over and over again. Like Manuel talking about how Jimmy Rollins was the best option to hit leadoff for the club this season, apparently forgetting about a guy named Juan Pierre. The storyline got really frustrating when Manuel talked about how Rollins is a .280 to .300 hitter and how he's worked on taking more pitches.

That part was particularly frustrating, because shortly before Manuel's glorification of Jimmy Rollins, he talked about the impact that new hitting coach Steve Henderson might have on the offense. He talked about veteran players who simply aren't going to be very different from the type of players that they are now, drawing an example of a guy who walks 20 times in a season and how a new hitting coach can't turn him into a guy that walks 100 times in a season.

But yet, there he was, saying that Rollins, who has never been the prototypical leadoff guy is working on getting on base more. He's working on not popping out as much as he has. And apparently, he's still working on that .280 average, because he hasn't hit close to that since hitting .277 in 2008. Manuel admitted that Rollins won't be a guy with a .400 on-base percentage, but he's going to give you a .333 OBP. Well, over the past four seasons, Rollins has given the team a .316 OBP.

Manuel is taking loyalty to a fault when it comes to Jimmy Rollins. He benched Rollins for not running out a ball this season and both sides said it wouldn't happen again; but it did. There wasn't another benching. Instead, there's post-season praise for the guy who has the Phillies on the hook for $22 million over the next two seasons and possibly another $11 million if his option season in 2015 vests, although the way Rollins is going, that's not likely.

You have to blame Amaro for the deal that Rollins wrangled out of the Phillies. It was near-sighted and not a deal that gave the Phillies a lot of wiggle room down the road.

Unless Amaro finds a guy that screams leadoff, it's likely that Rollins will be back in that role again next season for the Phillies and it's just as likely that he'll still be swinging early in the count, putting up an OBP that will be in the range of where he's been the past four seasons and he won't be the Jimmy Rollins that everybody keeps saying he can be. While Manuel is managing the Phillies, he's going to refuse to see the negatives of Jimmy Rollins, especially in a leadoff role.

It's like Manuel said, you can't change a veteran guy into something that he's not offensively.


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