All eyes are on the Eagles today. Meanwhile, we offer a fresh topic on former MVP Jimmy Rollins.
Of all the differences between his 2007 and 2008 seasons (19 fewer home runs, a .100-point drop in slugging percentage, 63 fewer runs) the most striking, to me, was that J-Roll became uncool. Throughout his career, the 30-year-old always kept it within reach, but in 2008, the year after winning the National League’s top honor, he let it slip away. Physically, his body betrayed him, suffering a high ankle sprain that forced him out of 24 games and assuredly lingered longer. Then, of course, there were the comments made on national television that caused the fans to turn. Offensively, he looked twisted.
At the same token, ’08 was the most proficient base-stealing season of his career (47 SB, 3 CS) and several metrics, like RZR (Revised Zone Rating) suggest it was his best season with the glove (I thought it was).
The Phillies are extremely fortunate to have a shortstop of J-Roll’s quality, so even if he never touches the 30-homer, 118 OPS+ peak of two years ago, his overall value is immeasurable. But imagine if he could get close to that level again, and what those extra runs would mean. His drop in production was the No. 1 reason why the Phils’ midseason struggles were so pronounced.
Other news: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Braves and Kenshin Kawakami have agreed to terms. Clout weighs in:
“Kawakami, 32, is a veteran righty, went 9-5 2.30 with Chunichi last season. He was the best player posting from Japan this off-season. He's considered at least as good as Kuroda. His best pitch is a cut fastball, but he also throws a changeup/curve that is not unlike Swindle's 60 mph offerings. His command is superb. His K/BB ratio last season was 4.5/1. In 2007 it was 6/1, which is sick.”
Photo: Finally, Austrian Beerleaguer Matthias Friedl sends his Phillies support from a small town with a funny name. [Photo].