General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and the Phillies have finally come around to the idea that they should be sellers at the trade deadline, but don’t expect to see Jimmy Rollins leaving Philadelphia.
As a veteran player with 10-and-5 rights (10 total years of experience, including at least five with the same team) Rollins has the ability to block any trade and the shortstop told David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News that he plans to exercise that veto power:
There are still a couple things I would like to be number one on the lists of in this organization, so until those things are done, I’m not going anywhere.
Rollins has spent his entire 14-year career in Philadelphia and is signed for $11 million in 2014, with a 2015 option that vests for $11 million if he stays healthy and continues to play every day. All of which is why it’s hardly surprising he wants to remain on the Phillies’ sinking ship, although citing his place on the franchise’s all-time leaderboards is an interesting reasoning to give.
It’s also worth noting that Rollins is a 34-year-old shortstop with a big salary who’s hitting just .259 with five homers and a career-worst .668 OPS in 105 games, so it’s not as if the Phillies would get a huge return for him anyway.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.
Comments from an anonymous team official suggest that Rangers right-hander Tyson Ross will not be expected to join the rotation until May or June, per a report from Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Both Ross and GM Jon Daniels favor a conservative approach for the 29-year-old as he works his way back up to full health after undergoing surgery last October to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome.
The delay is reportedly being implemented so that Ross will be have the strength and stamina to contribute during the stretch run. Per Daniels:
We would rather err on a little extra time up front with the goal being to finish strong, pitching in big spots, meaningful games down the stretch and hopefully past 162.
Ross signed a one-year deal with the team on Thursday after pitching through an injury-riddled season with the Padres in 2016. If all goes according to plan, he’ll slot into a rotation that includes Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels, Andrew Cashner and Martin Perez. The Rangers are expected to narrow down their fifth starter alternatives in spring training.