Though Jimmy Rollins has been a mainstay for the Phillies at shortstop - holding the starting job for 13 consecutive seasons - new managers sometimes like to shake it up. In his first spring training at the helm, Ryne Sandberg could be ready to make a change.
Okay, he hasn't signaled quite that much, but there is some tension brewing between the manager and the former MVP. Sandberg favors competition and is starting to suggest Freddy Galvis could have an opportunity to win the role.
After Rollins missed three straight starts, reporters asked Sandberg if the veteran was healthy.
"No, he's fine," Sandberg said.
They then prodded him about starting Galvis instead of Rollins. Read this from Jim Salisbury at CSNphilly.com:
“Freddy’s a guy that will get playing time at various positions,” Sandberg said. “He’s a guy that I like in the lineup. I felt good about what he brings to the table. The biggest thing I like is his energy and his positive influence, his positive influence on everyone around him.”
Sandberg was asked what he would say about Rollins in that regard.
“No comment,” the manager said.
It was certainly an interesting response.
Rollins saw his OPS fall below .700 last season for just the third time in his 14-year MLB career. Despite playing 160 games and logging 666 plate appearances, Rollins managed only six home runs and 39 RBI. He did score 65 runs and steal 22 bases, which is impressive considering he turned 35 in November. He was also pretty solid in the field with a .982 fielding percentage and 11 errors.
Galvis as the starter wouldn't be that much of an upgrade, especially on offense. He is a career .230 hitter with an ugly .269 on-base percentage. Even in a down year last season Rollins reached base at a .318 clip.
Given all that, it's likely Sandberg is just trying to send a message to Rollins, for whatever reason. He is clearly the better player and is pretty easily one of the Phillies' best eight options when compiling a lineup.
Could this turn into a bigger problem? We'll see. Phillies media is certainly watching it closely.