You guys aren’t going to believe this, but Jimmy Rollins told Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer that he expects the Phillies to be good this season.
“We’ll win 100 games,” Rollins said Saturday. “I really plan on going after, what is it, Seatlle won 114 [sic] or something. … We’ll go get somewhere hopefully in that range. But that requires everybody doing their job.”
C’mon, Jimmy. That’s all you got?
Injuries could change everything, especially if more than one of their “big four” goes down for a significant period of time, but I would be downright surprised if the Phillies didn’t finish the regular season with 100 wins. Anything short of a fifth straight division title would and should be a disappointment.
Granted, the 2001 Mariners — who actually won 116 games — were built differently than these Phillies, but they remain an important example that historic dominance during the regular season doesn’t promise anything in October.
All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.
The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.
It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.
It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.
Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉