Rollins Not Rollin'

It's time for Jimmy Rollins to either step it up or sit it down. The Phillies shortstop doesn't seem to learn the lessons that can make him a much better and more valuable shortstop. Plus, the Phillies can't afford to have his low average in the lineup, especially when there may be another option.

It's time for Jimmy Rollins to face the tough question: Will you listen to what the coaches tell you about hitting or will you content yourself to ride the bench until you do?

That's right, Jimmy Rollins should be benched until he implements the hitting techniques that the coaches have been attempting to teach him for the past two seasons. The fact that he continues to approach the plate with the mindset of a power hitter is absurd. He is a five foot eight inch 167 pound shortstop who's best asset is his speed, not his power. In his three plus major league seasons with the Phillies, Rollins has 33 home runs and 100 stolen bases. Why he continues to swing at fastballs up at his eyes is inexplicably mind-boggling. He is not going to get on top of pitches like that, so why does he continue to try? As I've said, his speed is his best asset and to that end, Rollins should attempt to lay down a bunt at least once a game. There is no reason why with Rollins talent, he should not hit at least .275 every year. His current .176 average is inexcusable.

But, who should take his spot in the lineup?

We proved last season when David Bell spent most of the year on the DL that Tomas Perez is not a long term solution to problems on the left side of the diamond. The Phillies should start talking to Minnesota in earnest about re-acquiring Nick Punto. While no one would argue with the Phillies off-season trade with Minnesota that brought Eric Milton to town in exchange for Punto, and Carlos Silva, the trade did leave the Phillies bench a little bit thin. Shawn Wooten's two for eight this season, however, doesn't inspire the same kind of confidence that Punto gave Phillies fans last year. Punto also hasn't committed an error since the 2002 season. Add to that the fact that he is hitting a lusty .346 for Minnesota this year and bringing him back to play shortstop while Rollins learns how to hit to his strengths would not be a bad addition to an otherwise talented roster.

Rollins will never learn his lesson until he is benched and made to play to his true strengths instead of his imagined strengths. Bringing back Nick Punto to play a solid shortstop and be a force at the plate while J-Roll learns a new approach at the plate would be the final piece this team needs to achieve its full potential.

Philly Baseball Insider Top Stories