Is Jimmy Rollins Almost a Derek Jeter Situation for the Phillies?

Is Jimmy Rollins Almost a Derek Jeter Situation for the Phillies?

Derek Jeter could never be confused with Jimmy Rollins. Jeter is an internationally-recognized star and first ballot Hall of Famer. He has over 3,000 hits, is an 11-time All Star, and a five-time World Champion. I don't like the guy -- at all -- but ordinarily I would never even think to use J-Roll's name in the same sentence.

Except this time last year, Jeter was embroiled in bitter contract negotiations with the New York Yankees. He had spent 16 seasons in the Bronx, defined his legacy wearing those pinstripes, and did his part to re-establish the franchise as a Major League powerhouse. Yet despite everything he accomplished, everything he meant to the organization, there was a very real possibility he could have wound up finishing out his career someplace else.

It's from there we can begin to draw some parallels.

Rollins played for the Phillies before it was cool. He toiled away on losing ball clubs, risked his livelihood on the unforgiving Vet turf. When the time finally came to talk extension, Jimmy signed on for five more years during the '05 season, committing the prime of his career to Philadelphia without so much as testing the market.

And he became a nice little ballplayer, too. Maybe he's not on Jeter's level, but Rollins has been the catalyst for this offense for the last decade. He's a three-time All Star, three-time Gold Glove winner, the National League MVP in 2007, and part of the 2008 team that delivered this city it's first World Championship in 25 years. Some would argue they would not have won it all were it not for his swagger... that he's the heart and soul of that clubhouse.

Wouldn't it be weird, almost wrong, seeing Jimmy Rollins under another hat?

Has he perhaps earned the opportunity to retire with the Phillies?

For the purpose of full disclosure, I thought the business with Jeter was bull when it was going down. Loyalty in professional sports, while a concept I fully appreciate and endorse, is just that: a concept. It's a romantic ideal that simply doesn't mesh with the reality that executives have to make cold, hard decisions with the resources that are available to them in order to put the best possible product on the field.

With that in mind, I am not advocating some type of sign-Jimmy-at-all-costs strategy. The number of years has to make sense, the trade-off probably being they would have to overpay a little.

I would be okay with that.

Obviously he's going to decline. In fact, it's started already. He seems prone to injury. His power numbers have dipped, his speed has diminished, and he's not even hitting for as high an average as we've become accustomed -- which wasn't always that high in the first place.

Yet there are some advantages to retaining a Rollins. His defense is as good as ever, and there is no reason to think he couldn't play a better shortstop than anybody who might replace him. Speaking of replacement, we still have no idea where that will come from. Clear-cut options are limited: spend a butt-load more money on Jose Reyes, or promote the untested Freddy Galvez. If another solution pops up, besides bringing in some stopgap, I'm all ears, but that's all we've got so far. At the very least, Rollins is serviceable.

And here's a factor the front office needs to consider: Jimmy's name alone might be worth a contract. Shirts with "Rollins 11" will continue to sell, maybe even more so as fans become increasingly appreciative of his service, as will jerseys, collectibles, and all of his other personalized merchandise. He's a popular player -- as he should be after 12 seasons -- and as much as some fans would like to see the team upgrade, I don't get the sense there is a huge contingent trying to run the guy out of town either.

To be perfectly honest, I can't even entirely sell myself on the positives of Jimmy Rollins staying in Philadelphia, or the very idea of re-signing a player whose best days are behind him. I only know it feels wrong he might leave. This incredible run, it all started with him, all started with his famous remark, "This is the team to beat."

Maybe the Phillies should be the team to beat if another town wants to acquire Jimmy Rollins. Then again, maybe Jimmy Rollins doesn't mean quite that much to Philadelphia.

No. 10 Washington dominates No. 7 Stanford in rout

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No. 10 Washington dominates No. 7 Stanford in rout

SEATTLE -- Jake Browning threw for 210 yards and three touchdowns, Myles Gaskin added 100 yards and two scores, and No. 10 Washington was dominant on both sides, overwhelming No. 7 Stanford 44-6 on Friday night.

After months of hype that Washington (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) was on the verge of a breakout, the Huskies showed they were ready for their return to the national stage.

And they did it emphatically, handing Stanford (3-1, 2-1) its worst loss since a 41-3 setback against Arizona State in 2007.

The Huskies raced to a 23-0 halftime lead, scored early in the second half to go up 30-0 and coasted to their biggest victory over an AP Top 10 team since beating No. 5 Southern California 31-0 in 1990. That game 26 years ago announced Washington as a national contender and the Huskies went on to share the national title a year later with Miami -- taking the coaches' version while Miami topped the AP media poll.

Browning was the leader of an efficient offense that scored on six of its eight drives. He threw touchdowns of 3 yards to Dante Pettis, 19 yards to John Ross and capped the night with a 3-yarder to Aaron Fuller with 5:30 remaining. Browning was 15 of 21 and did not commit a turnover.

Equally important was Washington's ability to establish a running game. The Huskies rushed for 214 yards and averaged 5.2 yards per carry.

Meanwhile, Stanford star Christian McCaffrey saw his Heisman Trophy aspirations hit a major speed bump. McCaffrey was held to 49 yards rushing on 12 carries, five catches for 30 yards and continued his streak of never scoring an offensive touchdown in a road game.

It was McCaffrey's fewest yards rushing since 2014 at California when he had 19 yards on three carries.

Stanford's only TD came late in the third quarter on a 19-yard pass from Ryan Burns to J.J. Arcega-Whiteside.

Burns was 15 of 22 for 151 yards, but Washington controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides. Stanford quarterbacks were sacked eight times, six in the first half. Stanford had allowed only four total sacks in the first three games combined.

Stanford was playing short-handed without starting cornerbacks Quenton Meeks and Alijah Holder, starting wide receiver Francis Owusu and starting fullback Daniel Marx. Starting right tackle Casey Tucker limped off with an apparent leg injury late in the fourth quarter.

Takeaways
Stanford: The Cardinal were unexpectedly sloppy. Stanford committed 11 penalties after entering the week as the least penalized team in the Pac-12. There were communication issues in part due to the roaring Washington crowd, but also a lack of sharpness not normally seen from David Shaw's team.

Washington: The defense was up to the task of keeping McCaffrey under control and forcing Burns to beat them through the air. McCaffrey had 34 yards on 10 carries in the first half and forced the Cardinal into numerous long third-down situations. That allowed Washington to bring extra pass rushers to get to Burns.

Up Next
Stanford: The Cardinal head home after two straight weeks on the road to host Washington State.

Washington: The Huskies travel to Oregon looking to snap a 12-game losing streak to the Ducks.

Best of MLB: Darvish stars as Rangers beat Rays 3-1 and clinch home field

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Best of MLB: Darvish stars as Rangers beat Rays 3-1 and clinch home field

ARLINGLTON, Texas -- Yu Darvish looked playoff-ready with a season-high 12 strikeouts in six innings as the Texas Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 on Friday night and clinched home-field advantage throughout the postseason.

The Rangers can be tied by only the Cleveland Indians and they own the tie-breaker by winning the teams' season series. The AL owns home-field advantage in the World Series thanks to its win in the All-Star Game.

Darvish (7-5) allowed one run, three hits and one walk. His 28th career game of double-digit strikeouts is the second-most in a pitcher's first 100 major league starts, topped only by Dwight Gooden (31). Darvish will likely start Game 2 of the Division Series following Cole Hamels.

Shin-Soo Choo returned to Texas' lineup after missing 39 games with a fractured left forearm. Choo pulled a single to right in his first plate appearance since Aug. 15 and went 1 for 4.

Matt Andriese (8-8) gave up three runs and seven hits, including solo home runs to Carlos Beltran and Rougned Odor (see full story). 

Cabrera hits 2 HRs, Tigers move up in playoff race, beat Braves
ATLANTA -- Miguel Cabrera hit two home runs, Ian Kinsler and Justin Upton also connected and the Detroit Tigers moved up in the playoff race, beating the Atlanta Braves 6-2 Friday night.

The Tigers won their third straight and pulled within a half-game of Toronto for the second AL wild-card spot. The Blue Jays lost at Boston 5-3.

The regular season is scheduled to end Sunday, but the Tigers might need to play beyond that. They were rained out against Cleveland this week and would have to make up that game if it impacts their playoff chances.

Daniel Norris (4-2) gave up one run, five hits, two walks and struck out eight in 6 2/3 innings.

The Braves, playing their final series at Turner Field before moving north to the suburbs next year, had won 10 of 11. Matt Wisler (7-13) was chased in the fifth when James McCann's RBI single made it 5-0 (see full story).

Trumbo hits 47th, Schoop 5 RBIs as Orioles top Yankees 8-1
NEW YORK -- Mark Trumbo hit his major league-leading 47th home run, Jonathan Schoop and Adam Jones also went deep in a six-run fifth inning and the Baltimore Orioles beat the New York Yankees 8-1 in steady rain Friday night to maintain their AL wild-card lead.

Baltimore began the night tied with Toronto for the AL's two wild cards at 87-72, with Detroit 1 1/2 games back and Seattle trailing the Tigers by a half-game.

Trumbo and Jones homered off Michael Pineda (6-12), who started with 3 2/3 hitless innings and suddenly became ineffective.

Schoop tied his career high with five RBIs, hitting a go-ahead, two-run double in the fourth and adding a three-run homer in the fifth against James Pazos -- Baltimore's big league-high 250th home run this season.

Yovani Gallardo (6-8) won for just the second time in nine starts since Aug. 5, allowing two hits, three walks and Mark Teixeira's sacrifice fly in six innings (see full story). 

Ortiz delivers another HR, Red Sox beat Blue Jays 5-3
BOSTON -- Opening his final weekend with yet another game-winning homer, David Ortiz lined a two-run shot into the right-field stands to break a seventh-inning tie and help the Boston Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3 on Friday night.

The AL East champion Red Sox snapped a three-game losing streak and stayed one game ahead of Cleveland in the race for home-field advantage for the playoffs.

The Blue Jays fell one game behind Baltimore in the wild-card race and are now within range of Detroit and Seattle in the fight for the AL's final postseason berth (see full story).