As recently as Wednesday, I wrote a column explaining why the Oakland Athletics should trade for Jimmy Rollins of the Philadelphia Phillies. Little did I know that trading for Rollins had actually been a part of the A’s plan. In fact, it may still be an option. According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the A’s and the Phillies had been in talks about bringing Rollins to Oakland.
At first I thought my ideas on Rollins would be seen as silly or impossible for a couple of reasons that were pointed out to me by those who did think I was way off base in imagining this trade. I was almost beginning to agree with public opinion when I discovered Rosenthal’s tweet.
Apparently before the deadline, by which Philadelphia was unable to move a single player mostly due to their complicated and high-priced contracts, the Phillies had put too high a price tag on Rollins. The A’s wouldn’t bite and the talks did not end up progressing very far.
However, just because the Phillies and the Athletics were not able to come to an agreement prior to the non-waiver trade deadline does not mean that a trade between the two teams is completely off the table.
Of course the first thing that would have to happen to make this trade viable would be for Rollins to clear waivers. At first glance Rollins clearing waivers doesn’t seem likely. Yet, it was pointed out by FanSided writer Bryan Rose that the idea of Rollins clearing waivers was actually reasonable.
Being that there is a real possibility that Rollins could clear waivers, bringing Rollins to Oakland could still be an option. It would also be a beneficial move for both ball clubs. Especially given the post trade deadline circumstances currently surrounding the two teams.
After having a terrible first half of the season the Phillies were unable to unload any of the players they would have liked to have moved prior to the non-waiver trade deadline. Many of these players were hyped up by the media as potential trade targets for a number of teams but no deals were made.
Removing a few of their older, more highly-paid players from their payroll is a step the Phillies absolutely must take if they ever intend to begin rebuilding their club in hopes of returning it to its winning ways. Rollins could be considered one of those players as would his teammate Chase Utley. Another example is starting pitcher Cliff Lee who returned to the disabled list Friday and may be facing season-ending surgery. The injury to Lee puts pressure on the Phillies to look at a wider range of players who should be moved before September.
The A’s are having a great season and actually improved their roster at the deadline by bringing on a number one starter in Jon Lester along with clubhouse sparkplug Jonny Gomes and outfielder Sam Fuld. However, there was an incident during Saturday’s game against the Kansas City Royals that turned the Athletics’ already large hole at second base into a gaping one.
While rounding third on Jed Lowrie’s RBI single in the fifth inning A’s second baseman Nick Punto slipped, sliding almost into the coaches’ box. He immediately grabbed the back of his right leg, staying down for a minute before getting up and hobbling back to the base. Punto had to be helped off the field and was replaced in the game by Eric Sogard.
Unfortunately for the A’s, who could already use an upgrade to both Sogard and Punto at second base, Punto strained his right hamstring and will require a stint on the disabled list. The length of time that Punto will be out of the A’s lineup has yet to be determined. Hamstring strains can take time to heal, giving the A’s more cause for concern in an area where they already had one.
So now we have the Phillies who are still looking to unload some players and the A’s who still need an upgrade at second base even more urgently now that Punto has been injured. There is also fact that the two teams had already been in talks with one another, albeit short ones, about moving Rollins to Oakland. Why not at least resume the discussion?
With both teams a little more in need now then they were before July 31, perhaps the Phillies might reconsider the price tag they had previously put on Rollins. The A’s may even be willing to up their offer having just gotten Yoenis Cespedes’ contract off of their payroll for next season.
The only other issues involved in this could-be deal surround Rollins. He would have to agree to the trade and clear waivers. Already it’s clear that he would have a good chance at clearing waivers. It also seems unlikely that Rollins, who has 10-5 rights, would veto a trade to a contender located in his hometown. Rollins, an Oakland native who turns 36 this fall, has previously expressed the desire to return home towards the end of his career.
If the Phillies could lower their expectations sightly and the A’s would be more open to further negotiations, this potential trade would push both teams closer towards their individual goals.
Plus it would certainly be something to see Rollins in an Oakland uniform, wouldn’t it?