Gary Cederstrom, Jimmy Rollins

Jimmy Rollins wants to re-sign with the Phillies … as long as they give him a five-year contract

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Last week impending free agent Jimmy Rollins explained that he won’t be giving a “hometown discount” to the Phillies and today the former MVP told reporters that he’ll be looking for a five-year contract on the open market.

During a press conference this morning Rollins made it clear that he wants to re-sign with the Phillies and spend his entire career in Philadelphia, but “I’m looking to get five years … if it’s going to be shorter, there’d have to be a fifth-year option, my option.”

Four years with a fifth-year player option is basically just five years anyway.

Of course, the fact that Rollins wants a five-year contract as he approaches free agency has little bearing on whether any team will actually give him a five-year contract. He remains one of the better all-around shortstops in baseball, but he’ll be 33 years old next month and has hit .255 with a .316 on-base percentage and .403 slugging percentage during the past three seasons while missing 100 games with injuries.

Committing to Rollins at big money through his age-37 season would be incredibly foolish for any team, as he’s no longer an elite player and very few shortstops avoid a significant decline in their mid-30s.

Rollins noted that he’s open to re-signing quickly if the Phillies offer him an acceptable five-year deal, calling it “a no-brainer.” More likely is that he’ll hit the open market in search of a five-year deal that just isn’t there and then perhaps come back to the Phillies for, say, a three-year pact. On the other hand, it only takes one crazy general manager to make a five-year contract a reality.

James McCann is in The Best Shape of His Life

Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann blows a bubble while warming up during a spring training baseball workout, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, in Lakeland, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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As I note every spring, “Best Shape of His Life” stories aren’t really about players being in The Best Shape of Their Lives. They’re about players and agents seeking to create positive stories.

We know this because the vast majority of Best Shape of His Life claims are about guys who were either injured the season before, guys who had subpar years the season before or players whose conditioning was a point of controversy the season before. These folks, or their agents + reporters who have little if nothing to write about in the offseason = BSOHL.

James McCann hurt his ankle last season and had a subpar year at the plate. So not only is he a perfect BSOHL candidate, he went old school with the claim and hit it right on the money, verbatim:

Spring training is less than a month away, folks!

Bo Jackson is not gonna change kids’ minds

1989:  Bo Jackson #16 of the Kansas City Royals practices his swing as he prepares to bat during a game in the 1989 season.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Last week Bo Jackson said that, if he had it to do all over again, he would have never played professional football and that he would never let his kids play. The sport is too violent, he said. “I’d tell them, ‘Play baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, just anything but football.’”

Fair enough. Thom Loverro of the Washington Times, however, thinks that Bo could do more than simply give his opinion on the matter. He thinks Bo should become an official ambassador for Major League Baseball:

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, pick up the phone right now and call Bo Jackson. Tell him you have a job for him — vice president of something, whatever you would call the man in charge of converting a generation of young athletes to baseball. And pay him what he wants.

You won’t find a better symbol of the differences between the two sports than Bo Jackson. After all, he was an All-Star in both. Bo knows football. Bo knows baseball.

Bo, tell the children — baseball over football.

The Children: “Who is Bo Jackson?”

Yeah, I’m being a bit flip here, but dude: Jackson is 54 years-old. He last played baseball 23 years ago. I’d personally run through a wall for Bo Jackson, but I’m 43. I was 12 when he won the Heisman trophy. While he may loom large to middle aged sports writers, a teenager contemplating what sport to play is not going to listen to someone a decade or more older than his parents.

This isn’t terribly important in the grand scheme of things, but it’s indicative of how most columnists process the world through their own experiences and assume they apply universally. It’s probably the biggest trap most sports opinion folks fall into.