It is the most demanding infield position. A spot that Jimmy Rollins has held down, full-time, for 13 seasons. For the past decade J-Roll has been my favorite Phillie. A World Series ring, MVP, 3x all-star and a 4-time Gold Glove winner, J-Roll will go down as the greatest shortstop in Phillies history. Heading into the 2014 season Rollins is 59 hits away from tying Michael Jack Schmidt for most hits in a Phillies uniform, amazing! So why is everyone sick of J-Stroll? Has he thrown in the towel, is he playing for just records? Is it time to let 24-year old Freddy Galvis get his shot?
Freddy Galvis stands out defensively, the guy can field. He can play all over the diamond, best utilized at short stop, Freddy can fill in at second for Chase, as he's proven capable of, and even play some outfield if needed. In a five-game span last season he started at four positions, second base, shortstop, third base and and left field. Yet, Galvis is still developing as a hitter in the big leagues. At only 24 there's no doubt that his offensive game can build and grow. As we have seen Jimmy's bat decline over the past two years, Galvis' offensive numbers have increased.
Breaking down the last month of the season in 2013 offensively: Rollins hit .292 in 89 ABs, with 1 HR, 4 RBIs, 11 BB, 5 SBs, and an OPS of .399. Freddy hit .309 in 55 ABs, with 2 HRs, 5 RBIs, 1 BB, and a .370 OPS. Obviously it's only a one month comparison but the offensive numbers are are relatively the same. Rollins had career lows in 2013 in RBI's and HRs and continues to see his batting average dip. Galvis had the same amount of HR's, 6, as Jimmy last season with 400 fewer ABs.
Galvis plays with a hustle that Philadelphia loves. With 44,000 strong chanting "Freddy, Freddy, Freddy," there's no doubt that Phillie phans love Freddy. He's a smart kid, he plays with heart, he flashes that big league smile, and he is a bright part of the future in Philadelphia. But he is still blocked by the longest tenured athlete in Philadelphia.
With the always loyal Uncle Charlie out and Ryne Sandberg in, there's no doubt that the new regime will allow more opportunities for the young guys to make some noise. We all know J-Roll is a Phillies legend, I more than anyone want to see Jimmy finish out his career in Phillies pinstripes and break as many Phillies records as he can. I also want to see this Phillies team get younger, get more competitive and build for the future.
I want to see a camp with open competition. Talking about slugger Ryan Howard last season, Sandberg said that the big man has got to come into 2014 in shape and ready to go. It was a defining statement from the then interim manager that the new regime was not going to cater to the older guys.
I've said it before and I'll say it again so you don't misconstrue this article, I love Jimmy (#mancrush). Jimmy will no doubt go down as one of my favorite Philadelphia athletes of all-time. But at some point we have to let the 2008 dreams go and make moves that will build championships in 2014 and beyond. Here's to J-Roll being pushed by the young guys and making some noise in 2014. I'm excited to see what Freddy Galvis will bring to the table and hope he sees a lot more playing time in the new year. Freddy, Freddy, Freddy!