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Jimmy Rollins on keeping Cliff Lee: "I guess that's just a move the Yankees do"

Apr 8, 2010, 2:15 PM EDT

Jimmy Rollins 2.jpgJimmy Rollins was on Dan Patrick’s radio show yesterday. He’s always a great interview. Very thoughtful. Despite the reputation he (unfairly) got early in his career, he’s pretty self-deprecating too. And, based on his comments when asked about why the Phillies traded Cliff Lee, very candid:

That, I have no idea. I’m sure we could afford him. We turned
nearly 4 million people through the turnstiles last year. I don’t know.
You should have (Phillies GM) Ruben (Amaro) on here . . . When the trade
happened, I actually got a text from Jayson Werth and he was like, ‘What
are we doing?’ And I was like, ‘Didn’t we get Halladay?’ And he was
like, ‘Yeah, but we traded Lee.’ And my mouth dropped like, ‘That wasn’t
part of the deal.’ I really don’t know. I thought we had enough to keep
him. I thought we could have done enough to keep him, but I guess that’s
just a move the Yankees do.

You can listen to the interview here (the Lee stuff starts at about the five minute mark). I don’t take his tone as one of complaint or second guessing, really. He defers to Ruben Amaro for the whys of it all. But you can tell that keeping Cliff Lee was his preference. Of course, it’s not like Rollins has any special insight as to whether trading him was the right move. Veterans will always, always, always prefer to keep their fellow veterans on a team over making trades that will help replenish the system with prospects.

My takeaway from this is not that Rollins is right that the Phillies should have kept Lee, necessarily, but that he seems genuinely blindsided by the deal. Makes me wonder how much the team communicates overall strategy with the players. Sure, it’s OK to be surprised the day it happens and texts start flying. But to remain surprised even a couple of months later is something else entirely.

  1. Mathew - Apr 8, 2010 at 2:28 PM

    Stop. Dont try to make something out of nothing.
    There is not communacation problems with in the Phillies. They are one of if not the best team when it comes to chemistry between players, between players and coaches, between players and mangement, and between mangement and coaches.
    Rollins was talking about how he felt after he hard what happened. He was saying he doesnt know because he didnt want to over step and thats why he said to ask Ruben.

  2. Joey B - Apr 8, 2010 at 2:37 PM

    I guess I’m missing the problem. They traded to get Lee and then traded up to get Halladay, then signed Halladay for $20M. I’m not sure how anyone remotely connected to the Phillies could be upset with that.

  3. Heather - Apr 8, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    Seriously…we’re back to the Halladay/Lee trade? I love Cliff Lee. I love what he did for the Phillies and would not have complained one bit if we kept him. But we didn’t. Halladay has pitched and is doing a great job. PLEASE, oh PLEASE, let this trade thing END already! As for the communication between the players and the front office…seriously? Players are hired to PLAY, not give insight on their team. I sincerely doubt your boss has a sit down with everyone in your office when he decides to hire or fire someone and gets everyone’s point of view…right?

  4. Megary - Apr 8, 2010 at 2:59 PM

    Coming up next on Dead Horse News…
    Does HGH enhance player performace? We tackle that right after this!

  5. MikeZ - Apr 8, 2010 at 3:07 PM

    The deal was struck in the offseason. I doubt any GM is contacting their players at their homes in the offseason to discuss trades.
    Since Amaro took over as GM the Phils have been better then they ever have been. So it is hard to question his moves to this point.

  6. Josh - Apr 8, 2010 at 3:19 PM

    Oh come on, can we do this one more time? It’s never gonna get old to ask how you “replenish” your minors with the likes of Tyson Gillies and Philippe Aumont! I mean, those are clearly not even real people’s names! They’re anagrams or something. Wait, what? They ARE real? Well, OK. Are they any good? No? Won’t be ready for a year or two? Uh-oh. That really does look like a stupid trade now.

  7. Jonny5 - Apr 8, 2010 at 4:32 PM

    Ok, they got Halladay for 3 years at 20 mill a year. Who cares what it took to do it? The Phills got to keep Brown, who is very good and most teams would have him starting this season. I was not happy when Lee got traded, but I have a feeling it will turn out to be a good move. I just think halladay is less injury prone. because he is. Why dump another 20 million a year on Lee with the most impressive lineup in the NL? 20 million would be just about what it would take to keep the guy, then when he walks as a FA you get draft picks? Who may, or most likely won’t turn out to be any good.
    Captcha: the brewery

  8. carlos - Apr 8, 2010 at 5:46 PM

    jeez, philly fan’s, sensitive much.

  9. Dman - Apr 8, 2010 at 6:38 PM

    The point is the 2 moves were not related. We got Halladay, then we traded Lee. You can’t tell me the Phillies wouldn’t be a better team with Lee. I am not upset with the Phils they have gone to back to back world series and won one. But losing lee who did nothing but great things for us is ashame. Especially for fans who bought Jerseys, I didn’t i waited and bought a Halladay jersey. That is the only point. Why resign Blanton when you could have kept Lee. Why resign Moyer to a 2 yr deal 2 yrs ago. There are lots of questions but this team is good none the less.

  10. jimjim south philly - Apr 9, 2010 at 12:13 PM

    i was sad to see lee go. after all he did for the phillies and the city. but if we win the whole thing it wont matter. i hope the gm is right.

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