When he wasn’t busy taking shots at Jose Reyes and tweeting about how the fans at last night’s game weren’t loud enough Jimmy Rollins told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com that he won’t accept a “hometown discount” to remain with the Phillies after this season.
Rollins has spent his entire professional career with the Phillies after they picked him in the second round of the 1996 draft, but will be eligible for free agency this winter following a six-year, $46.5 million contract.
When asked about possibly of using the postseason to increase his free agent stock, Rollins replied:
If that happens, that happens. I mean, it can help some, but I am who I am, postseason, regular season, regardless. When free agency comes about, people are going to pay you for what your numbers reflect, not just for a three-week snapshot.
That’s a refreshing take considering all the media members who focus on how single-game performances from players in October supposedly “made him millions” or “cost him millions.”
Zolecki reports that Rollins “would like a five-year contract, although it seems unlikely the Phillies would offer him that.” In his MVP-winning 2007 season Rollins played all 162 games and hit .296 with an .875 OPS. In the four seasons since then he’s missed 126 games and hit .261 with a .737 OPS. Toss in the fact that he’ll be 33 years old next month and a five-year commitment would be incredibly risky for any team.
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reports that Athletics’ right-hander Sonny Gray will not pitch in the World Baseball Classic after failing to meet the necessary criteria for insurance coverage. He missed 70 days on the disabled list with forearm tightness and a back strain in 2016.
According to Oakland GM David Forst, Major League Baseball tried to persuade the insurance carrier to waive the requirements for Gray to pitch for Team USA, but the request was ultimately refused. Without coverage, Gray will be unable to participate in the competition, though Forst adds that the 27-year-old is still in perfect health as Opening Day approaches and should benefit from a slower spring training schedule without the added commitment on his plate.
Injuries complicated a down year for Gray, who pitched to a career-worst 5.69 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 7.2 SO/9 rate through 117 innings in 2016. His 1.4 HR/9 and 17.8% HR/FB rates suggested that he felt the effects of the home run spike more than most, capping a disappointing follow-up to his All-Star campaign during 2015.
While Gray works up to a healthy and productive start to the 2017 season, the Athletics will still see two players on WBC rosters next month: right-handed reliever Santiago Casilla, who is scheduled to pitch for the Dominican Republic, and fellow righty John Axford, for Team Canada.
Rangers’ outfielder Josh Hamilton is scheduled for another knee exam on Monday, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Hamilton left camp last week after feeling some pain in his left knee and received a PRP injection to alleviate the symptoms. Wilson notes that both Dr. Walt Lowe and Rangers’ assistant general manager Mike Daly noticed little improvement in the days following the injection.
More drastic measures could be necessary if the 35-year-old intends to return to the field this year. MLB.com’s TR Sullivan adds that the Rangers are considering arthroscopic surgery for Hamilton, which would set him back at least 4-6 weeks and eliminate any real chance of his making the Opening Day roster in April. Until they see the results of the surgery, however, the Rangers won’t rule out Hamilton’s potential return to the big leagues in 2017.
Hamilton is looking at his third major procedure since the end of the 2015 season. He missed all of the Rangers’ 2016 campaign after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery last spring and has not seen a full workload in the majors since his 2013 run with the Angels. Should he make a full recovery this season, he figures to see some time at first base/DH or the corner outfield.