Philadelphia’s decision to re-sign Jimmy Rollins looked like a mess two months into his three-year, $33 million contract, as the former MVP hit just .224 with one homer and a .558 OPS through 47 games.
At age 33 and coming off back-to-back sub-.400 slugging percentage seasons it was starting to look like Rollins’ power was gone, but instead he’s been an extra-base hit machine since then.
Rollins went 2-for-5 with a homer and a double last night and is now 38-for-110 (.345) with seven homers, 10 doubles, and two triples in his last 25 games. During that time he raised his batting average from .224 to .268 and his OPS from .558 to .734, both of which are right around his career marks of .272 and .760.
Whether or not that means the Phillies will eventually regret giving Rollins a three-year commitment remains to be seen, but as they try to claw their way back into the playoff picture his re-emergence along with Chase Utley’s impending return has to have fans feeling at least a little bit optimistic.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.
Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.
As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.