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.

Best of NBA: Heat stun Warriors on Dion Waiters' 3 with 0.6 seconds left

Best of NBA: Heat stun Warriors on Dion Waiters' 3 with 0.6 seconds left

MIAMI -- Dion Waiters' 3-pointer with 0.6 seconds left capped his 33-point effort, and the Miami Heat beat Golden State 105-102 on Monday night to end the Warriors' seven-game winning streak.

The Heat wasted a 10-point lead in the final 4 minutes, and Kevin Durant tied the game on a dunk with 11.7 seconds left. With no timeouts, Waiters walked the ball up the court and drilled what became the game-winner over Klay Thompson.

Stephen Curry missed a 3-pointer as time expired for the Warriors (see full recap).

Rivers, Crawford lead Clippers past Hawks
ATLANTA -- Austin Rivers scored 27 points and Jamal Crawford broke out of a shooting slump with 19, helping the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Atlanta Hawks 115-105 on Monday night.

Crawford had eight points in the fourth quarter, including a driving basket after Atlanta cut the Clippers' lead from 24 to five points.

Kent Bazemore led the Hawks with 25 points. Dennis Schroder had 21, and Dwight Howard added 16 points and 12 rebounds (see full recap).

Wizards beat Hornets behind Wall’s 24
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- John Wall firmly believes the Washington Wizards are a good team with plenty of playoff potential.

The key, he said, "is we just got to believe it every time we step on the court."

Wall had 24 points and seven assists, and the Wizards looked plenty confident as they continued their run up the Eastern Conference standings with a 109-99 win against the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night (see full recap).

Kings snap skid with win over Pistons
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- DeMarcus Cousins had 22 points and 14 rebounds, and the Sacramento Kings snapped a five-game losing streak with a 109-104 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Monday night.

Ty Lawson added 19 points and helped Sacramento turn the game around with a strong second quarter. Lawson scored nine points in the second, and the Kings outscored the Pistons 37-24 in the period to take a 65-62 lead into halftime.

A 3-pointer by Lawson put Sacramento up 101-90 in the fourth, and the Kings held on from there to stop Detroit's three-game winning streak (see full recap).

Jones, Holiday lead Pelicans past Cavs
NEW ORLEANS -- Terrence Jones filled in brilliantly for injured All-Star Anthony Davis, scoring a season-high 36 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and blocking LeBron James' dunk attempt in the fourth quarter, and the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 124-122 on Monday night.

Jrue Holiday added 33 points and 10 assists for the Pelicans, and Langston Galloway capped a 12-point night with a clean steal on James' drive in the final minute, preventing the Cavs from erasing a deficit they had trimmed from 22 late in the first half to three with 1:32 left in the game.

Kyrie Irving scoring 35 of his 49 points in the second half, but the Cleveland fell to its fifth loss in seven games. James had 26 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds (see full recap).

Best of NHL: Henrik Lundqvist's 36 saves leads Rangers past Kings

Best of NHL: Henrik Lundqvist's 36 saves leads Rangers past Kings

NEW YORK -- Henrik Lundqvist stopped 36 shots to lead the New York Rangers over the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on Monday night.

Brandon Pirri, Matt Puempel and Mats Zuccarello scored to help New York win its third straight since a three-game skid.

Jordan Nolan and Kyle Clifford scored, and Jeff Zatkoff finished with 14 saves for Los Angeles, which has lost four straight and five of seven.

Lundqvist has given up just four goals on 84 shots during the winning streak -- including a 1-0 shutout at Detroit on Monday -- after allowing 20 on 113 shots the previous four games.

The veteran goalie needed to be at his best in this one as the Kings, who last played Saturday across town against the Islanders, seemed a step faster from the start and controlled play for most of the first two periods (see full recap).

Caps top 'Canes to extend point streak to 14 games
WASHINGTON -- Defenseman Dmitry Orlov scored twice and the Washington Capitals kept the offense rolling to beat the Carolina Hurricanes 6-1 on Monday night and extend their point streak to 14 games.

Orlov doubled his goal output for the season and Justin Williams, Evgeny Kuznetsov, T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller also scored for the Capitals, who have won three in a row and haven't lost in regulation since Dec. 27. Washington scored on six of its 25 shots on Cam Ward and handed Carolina its fourth consecutive loss.

Braden Holtby made 25 saves for his 23rd victory of the season. The only goal he allowed came from Jordan Staal on the power play in the first period.

The Capitals allowed the first goal for the first time in 11 games but scored six unanswered to continue their winning ways. They've scored 44 goals in their past eight games (see full recap).

Kadri reaches 20 goals as Leafs beat Flames
TORONTO -- Nazem Kadri scored twice to tie his career high with 20 goals this season, Frederik Andersen stopped 26 shots and the Toronto Maple Leafs ended a two-game winless streak with a 4-0 win over the Calgary Flames on Monday night.

Kadri beat Brian Elliott twice, and Andersen captured his second shutout as a Leaf.

Rookies Mitch Marner and Zach Hyman also scored for Toronto, which sits third in the Atlantic Division with 53 points.

Elliott gave up four goals on 28 shots, dropping his fourth consecutive start.

The Flames have lost three in a row and five of the past six. They are a point up on Vancouver for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference (see full recap).