We’ve heard the Dodgers connected to Cole Hamels and Shane Victorino in recent weeks, but it seems they are also considering another player on the Phillies’ roster.
Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com is reporting that the Dodgers have “some interest” in shortstop Jimmy Rollins. It’s not clear whether the Phillies are seriously considering parting with their longest-tenured player, but Knobler notes that the club has been “disappointed by his play this year” and thought he “could have done more” to guide them while Ryan Howard and Chase Utley were sidelined.
It’s probably a far-fetched possibility, but Rollins would represent an upgrade for the Dodgers, who have combined to hit just .227/.284/.302 from of the shortstop position this season. Dee Gordon is responsible for most of that and is expected to be sidelined until mid-August following surgery earlier this month to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb.
In the first year of a three-year, $33 million contract, Rollins is hitting .261/.315/.414 with eight home runs, 33 RBI, 14 stolen bases and a .729 OPS in 87 games. His contract includes an $11 million vesting option for 2015. Even if the Phillies find a taker, Rollins has 10-and-5 rights and can control his own destiny. The 33-year-old is a California native.
The Blue Jays have released right-handed reliever John Axford from his minor league contract, per an announcement on Saturday. Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi speculates that the move could provide an avenue for the club to rework Axford’s contract, but the Blue Jays have yet to confirm or deny the report.
Axford, 35, was dealt a blow on Thursday after getting diagnosed with a stress reaction in the olecranon bone of his right elbow. Elbow soreness dogged the right-hander through much of his time in camp, and although he was scheduled for a follow-up examination later this spring, a definite return date had not been established.
Prior to the diagnosis, Axford was tabbed for a setup role with the team in 2019. He pitched to mixed results in 2018 (thanks in part to a late-season fracture of his right fibula) with a 5.27 ERA, 4.9 BB/9, and 9.8 SO/9 through 54 2/3 innings with the Blue Jays and Dodgers. Now, however, it’s not certain that he’ll return to the mound this season in any capacity.
Axford isn’t the only reliever the Blue Jays have lost to injury lately, either, as right-handers Ryan Tepera and Bud Norris have been sidelined with right elbow inflammation and forearm fatigue, respectively. Per Davidi, the Blue Jays offered Norris a $100,000 retention bonus to prevent him from opting out of the minor league contract he signed in February.