Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins drove a 10th-inning Dan Jennings pitch over the left field wall at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday night to give his club a 5-4 walkoff win over the visiting Marlins. As Rollins trotted out of the batter’s box to begin his celebratory stroll around the bases he appeared to shout a few words at his own dugout. Turns out, he was actually jawing at a fan — a Phillies fan, presumably — who was sitting in the first couple of rows and had been rudely heckling him throughout his decisive at-bat.
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com has more ….
At first glance, it appeared as if Rollins might have been emoting toward his teammates. But upon further review, Rollins was giving an earful to a heckler in the box seats.
“Some fan in the stands popping off,” Rollins said. “He was right behind our dugout. He was close enough to yell, and he pissed me off, honestly.”
Rollins said the fan said “something pretty ignorant” after the first pitch of the at-bat. He would not expound.
But Rollins had no qualms recounting what he said to the fan as he broke from the batter’s box.
“I very politely told him to shut the F up,” Rollins said.
And that’s just the way he said it.
“He started chirping right after my first swing,” Rollins said. “I wanted to do it right when he said it, but I still had an at-bat to get through.
“You hear it a lot. A lot of times you want to say something back. This time I was able to.”
Rollins was pressed as to what the fan said that made him so angry.
Again, he would not expound.
Rollins, 35, is batting .316/.395/.553 with seven runs and 10 RBI in nine games played this season.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.