A few days ago, ESPN reported that Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins would be open to a trade. Today, sportswriter Matt Gelb reported that Phillies owner David Montgomery was open to trading veteran second baseman Chase Utley and/or Rollins for younger talent.
This could be good news for the Athletics. Both Rollins and Utley are local products – Rollins from Oakland and Utley a Sausalito resident – and either may enjoy returning home as well as playing for a contending first place team. As of June 18, the Phils (32-38) are winners of three straight, were in still fourth place in the NL East, four-and-a-half out from the first place Washington Nationals.
Both Rollins and Utley however can veto any trade proposals since they are 10-and-5 players – 10 years in the big leagues, five years with the team. But Rollins, who passed Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt to become the Phillie’s hit list leader on Saturday, told reporters that he would consider waiving his no-trade rights if the last-place Phillies “blow everything up.”
The Athletics are in need of production from their middle infield slots. The addition of just one of these veteran infielders would add production and advanced playoff experience to the A’s 2014 run.
Jed Lowrie is hitting a meager .222 in his 68 games this season and has 8 errors. Nick Punto is batting .246 as a part-timer but has 4 errors in minimal play in the field. Eric Sogard, though a good fielder, is batting a sub-Mendoza .199.
Rollins and Utley were members of the Phillies 2008 World Championship team. In 15 years with the Phillies, the 5-foot-8 Rollins has won four Gold Gloves, made three All-Star teams and was the 2007 NL MVP. Utley, a five-time All-Star and four-time Silver Slugger Award winner, is batting .301, with 5 HRs and 24 doubles this season.
Cost and health may be a factor in divorcing this longtime DP duo and bringing one of them to the green and gold. Rollins should have enough plate appearances this season to initiate a guaranteed $11 million for 2015. If Utley, who has a history of knee problems, avoids the disabled list this season, his 2015 salary will rise from $10 million to $15 million. Both players are productive, albeit at an advanced age and Utley’s knees will always bring about questions.
The July 31 deadline is more than a month away and the A’s are “comfortable” holding a 5 game lead in the AL West but questions still arise about the post season and getting past the ALDS.
It’s well known that A’s GM Billy Beane does his transactions throughout the entire year and not with much frequency at the deadline. Perhaps his best deadline deal was acquiring Jermaine Dye in 2001. It seems he’s never finished with reshuffling the A’s roster and will have to evaluate what young talent to part with come July.