Nuts, right? Why the heck would the Mets sign Jimmy Rollins?
Well, why wouldn’t they?
Look at it this way: the Mets front office claims they want to field a competitive team and they refuse to say that the team is in “rebuilding mode”. They also claim that they really wanted Jose Reyes, but on their terms — which was somewhere in the neighborhood of 4-5 years and $75-90M. Right?
OK, if both of those things are true, then why wouldn’t the Mets make an offer for Jimmy Rollins — who could be available for a lesser contract commitment in terms of both years and dollars, and would provide an overall performance that might not be near Reyes’ level, but would be pretty darn good compared to most NL shortstops not named Tulowitzki.
Sure, Rollins is 32 years old — but that’s why he can be had for, say, a 3-year contract. He’s no longer capable of batting titles or MVP performances, so his annual salary would be at best $15M. Three years at $40-$45M is half of what the Mets supposedly were willing to give Reyes — right? So, if they had the wherewithal to give Reyes 5 years / $90M, they MUST have the capability of giving Rollins 3/$40M, correct?
What Rollins gives the Mets is the following: more potential homerun power than Reyes; similar defense; stronger leadership and intangibles; lower batting average and OBP — but still better than most NL shortstops; similar basestealing output and proficiency; similar if not better durability. In short, Rollins is a “notch below” Reyes, or “Reyes Lite” — and that’s why he’ll cost less than half of what Reyes costs.
Of course, we don’t know if Rollins is interested in joining the Mets, but that’s not the issue to argue right now. First, the Mets have to show interest in him, and make a viable offer. And they should, because such a move would prove that they are serious about competing for a playoff spot in 2012. Signing Rollins would change every pessimist’s opinion on where the Mets plan to be for the next few seasons. Additionally, having a strong personality and veteran winner such as Rollins around would be great for the Mets’ youngsters — and it would be a positive move for the clubhouse dynamic. Upon arrival, Rollins would be a leader on a team that’s been without one for far too long.
Think about it: Rollins may no longer play like a star, but he still has star quality. He is brash, has swagger, is willing to talk with the media, and can handle pressure. He’s MADE for New York.
And here’s the kicker: if Rollins plays to about what’s expected, and the Mets find themselves far out of the race come late July, Rollins would be a highly sought-after trading chip for a contending team. Shortstops who can play strong defense, provide above-average offense, and have postseason experience are difficult to find — look at how valuable Rafael Furcal has suddenly become. Rollins would have additional value because he wouldn’t be a two-month rental — he’ll have at least two more years left on his contract.
What do you think? Crazy idea? Why or why not? Answer in the comments.
About the Author
Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.