There is already a rift growing in the Phillies clubhouse between new manager Ryne Sandberg and long-time shortstop Jimmy Rollins. Sandberg benched Rollins on Tuesday, benched him on Wednesday, and will bench him once again on Thursday. – all while not talking to him and firing not so subtle shots at him through the media. Yeah, this situation already looks like it’s going off the rails.
The manager and shortstop have not spoken since Monday. Rollins said he will not seek a conversation with Sandberg; he will wait for Sandberg to come to him.
“Obviously he is upset about something,” Rollins said.
The first hint of any issue came after Wednesday’s game in Sarasota, Fla., when Sandberg offered no explanation for Rollins’ three-day benching. Unprompted, Sandberg praised Freddy Galvis’ “energy and his positive influence.” When asked about Rollins in that regard, Sandberg said, “No comment.”
This really isn’t surprising – the narrative surrounding Rollins’ “lack of hustle” has been building for years. If this was such an issue for the Phillies in the past, maybe they shouldn’t have handed Rollins a three-year, $33 million contract extension in December of 2011.
I also like this mindset about Freddy Galvis somehow being the heir apparent to Rollins at shortstop. In 422 major league plate appearances, The 24-year old Galvis has hit .230/.269/.375, and those marks were boosted by an above average 16 game sample last September against inferior competition. He’s also a guy that has already had two lengthy DL stints (one in the majors, one in the minors) and has also been busted for PEDs, so let’s not pretend that he’s flawless.
The whole situation in Philadelphia is already becoming a toxic one, and if the Phillies attempt to manipulate the playing time of a healthy, productive Rollins during the season so his 2015 club option doesn’t vest, you’d better believe there will be a grievance filed on his behalf by the MLBPA. And if Sandberg continues hiding behind the media and using “no comment” to mask his true feelings about his players, the 2014 Phillies could be a train wreck of epic proportions.