The Tigers And Jimmy Rollins


It seems like we have seen this before. The Tigers name has been thrown out again to be in the mix for another player. This time it is Jimmy Rollins. A post at MLB Trade Rumors suggests that a 2nd team besides the Phillies is in on Rollins, and Danny Knobler hints that it could be the Tigers, despite the Tigers insistence that they are not.

Now, the Tigers and David Dombrowski have been known to keep things silent, and kind of swoop in and get guys that people wouldn’t expect. Last season, it was trading for Doug Fister, and signing Joaquin Benoit before anyone could blink. Yeah, we knew the Tigers liked those guys, but it still kind of came out of nowhere, and materialized quickly on both accounts. The year before it was trading Curtis Granderson in a multi-player and multi-team deal. It’s just not the Tigers modus operandi to announce to everyone what they are doing. So, maybe there is some merit to the interest in Rollins.

But I doubt it.

At this point, it seems like everyone but the Tigers themselves have them interested in darn near every free agent out there. They aren’t the Marlins for crying out loud. Yes, the Tigers have spent a little bit irresponsibly in the past, but in case someone hasn’t noticed, they haven’t really been doing so in the past couple of years. Jimmy Rollins fits in the irresponsible category.

The Tigers just aren’t in the market for a shortstop in the coming season. Jhonny Peralta has earned the right to have that position on lock down for 2012. If the Tigers weren’t in on Reyes really, I don’t see Jimmy Rollins being of much interest to them. Rollins is still a good defender at this stage of his career, and Peralta’s magnificent season aside, I would tend to trust Rollins as a SS more than I would Peralta. But here is the kicker, Rollins is 33 years old already, and the assumption is going to be that he is going to slow down. That is going to cut down on the superior range that he offers over Peralta. Especially considering Rollins is looking for a 4 year deal in the neighborhood in 50M dollars.
Offensively, it isn’t real close right now. Peralta, admittedly had a spike year offensively, but overall his offensive production is vastly superior to Rollins. He also did it in the American League, so there is no worries of Peralta having to adapt to new pitchers like Rollins. Using one of my favorite statistics, wOBA, Peralta produced a .353 wOBA last season, compared to Rollins’ .329. Peralta had a 5.2 WAR season according Fangraphs, Rollins posted a WAR of 3.8. Rollins wasn’t bad by any stretch, but he isn’t 4 years 50M dollars good. Nor is he even 4 years 40M good in my opinion.

Look, I am not trying to bash Jimmy Rollins at all. He is still a good player and capable of producing above average seasons at SS. However, it is nature that players his age begin slowing down, making it difficult for him to be of value to teams in the free agent market. Especially at the back end of their free agent deals. Not to mention, Rollins has battled injury already the last couple of years. He just isn’t a fit for the Tigers, who are still searching for a high OBP guy at the top of the order. Which leads me to the next question.

When exactly did the Tigers become the team that writers began slipping in as a possibility for every trade candidate and free agent out there? I understand writers like Knobler have to generate readers, and his history as a writer covering the Tigers would suggest that maybe there is some juice to the report, but this is getting a little ridiculous.

I won’t say never when it comes to Jimmy Rollins, because David Dombrowski and company have surprised us before. The only way Rollins has value to the Tigers is if they move Peralta to 3B. Peralta doesn’t appear to be a happy player at 3B, so I dont’ think the Tigers will mess with that.

I won’t say never, but this one is highly unlikely, and rightfully so.