Jimmy Rollins was on Dan Patrick’s radio show yesterday. He’s always a great interview. Very thoughtful. Despite the reputation he (unfairly) got early in his career, he’s pretty self-deprecating too. And, based on his comments when asked about why the Phillies traded Cliff Lee, very candid:
That, I have no idea. I’m sure we could afford him. We turned
nearly 4 million people through the turnstiles last year. I don’t know.
You should have (Phillies GM) Ruben (Amaro) on here . . . When the trade
happened, I actually got a text from Jayson Werth and he was like, ‘What
are we doing?’ And I was like, ‘Didn’t we get Halladay?’ And he was
like, ‘Yeah, but we traded Lee.’ And my mouth dropped like, ‘That wasn’t
part of the deal.’ I really don’t know. I thought we had enough to keep
him. I thought we could have done enough to keep him, but I guess that’s
just a move the Yankees do.
You can listen to the interview here (the Lee stuff starts at about the five minute mark). I don’t take his tone as one of complaint or second guessing, really. He defers to Ruben Amaro for the whys of it all. But you can tell that keeping Cliff Lee was his preference. Of course, it’s not like Rollins has any special insight as to whether trading him was the right move. Veterans will always, always, always prefer to keep their fellow veterans on a team over making trades that will help replenish the system with prospects.
My takeaway from this is not that Rollins is right that the Phillies should have kept Lee, necessarily, but that he seems genuinely blindsided by the deal. Makes me wonder how much the team communicates overall strategy with the players. Sure, it’s OK to be surprised the day it happens and texts start flying. But to remain surprised even a couple of months later is something else entirely.