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Let’s watch someone convince himself that Wilson Valdez isn’t a falloff from Jimmy Rollins

Nov 3, 2011, 11:33 AM EDT

Wilson Valdez

I don’t know if Jimmy Rollins is going to stay in Philly. I kind of think he will because it’s a great match and I have a hard time envisioning a world in which he isn’t wearing red pinstripes. But I do know this much: if he leaves the Phillies, the team would be way worse off if they decided to make Wilson Valdez their everyday shortstop.

Not that you’d know it from reading this blog post from Bob Vertone at Philly.com today:

The Phils had a better record over the last two seasons when Valdez started at shortstop than when Rollins did. Even if you throw out the seven games Rollins started during the eight-game “hangover” this season, his win percentage (.622) is lower …

Because as we all know, the only thing that impacted any of those games was the presence of Wilson Valdez and the absence of Jimmy Rollins. Nothin’ else was going on. At all.

Beyond that, Vertone tries to make a case that the differences between Valdez and Rollins aren’t all that great. Which is quite a trick when you realize that Rollins has an OPS+ of 97 in over 7500 career plate appearances while Valdez has an OPS+ of 67 in just over 1000.  And that Rollins is still a damn solid shortstop. And that Valdez is himself turns 34 next season.

Rollins may play someplace else in 2012. If he does, you can bet your bippy that the Phillies are going to look for a replacement for him who is better than Valdez. Or, if they don’t, they’ll know that they’ll have a big falloff at short that they’ll have to make up elsewhere.

Of course, as the pic reveals, Valdez is versatile. Maybe he can help out in the pen.

  1. wlschneider09 - Nov 3, 2011 at 11:44 AM

    Just think, if Ryan Theriot was there they’d never lose….

    • paperlions - Nov 3, 2011 at 12:21 PM

      I hear the Cardinals are likely to sign Reyes, so, if Philly is VERY LUCKY, Theriot may become available.

  2. halladaysbiceps - Nov 3, 2011 at 11:46 AM

    I don’t think Rollins will be back at this point. I think he’s going elsewhere. The Phillies aren’t going to give him anything beyond 3 years and some other team will. He’s never been a good leadoff hitter for the Phillies and they need to revamp this lineup. I start with his and Madson’s money.

    That being said, until another viable option at SS comes up in the next year or 2, I would be fine with a platoon of Valdez and maybe a Furcal type FA at SS for the 2012 season. The Phillies need to take some money and address 3rd base, left field (because Mayberry will need to play 1st, with Howard being injured) and the bench.

    Time to say bye-bye to Rollins.

    • CJ - Nov 3, 2011 at 12:15 PM

      I agree up to a point. I would think Michael Martinez and Freddy Galvis both have better chances start opening day as the starting SS than Valdez…or even Rollins for that matter.

      I’ve said all along Rollins is as good as gone and that they’ll most likely go young at SS and spend elsewhere. Then, if the kids don’t pan out they’ll fill in the hole with a deal before the deadline, just like every other year.

    • thefalcon123 - Nov 3, 2011 at 12:34 PM

      Platoon Valdez? Valdez hits lefties and righties almost exactly the same (.689 v .610 in 2010, .618 v 665 in 2011), which is to say, hardly at all.

      • halladaysbiceps - Nov 3, 2011 at 12:53 PM

        Valdez is not an everyday player. You limit the games he plays to about 80-90 games. He is more effective if used sparingly. Platooning him with another shortstop who is also not an everyday player could work for the Phillies in the short-term.

      • CJ - Nov 3, 2011 at 12:55 PM

        I think the argument is that even 80-90 games in a true platoon is too much for Valdez. I tend to agree.

      • thefalcon123 - Nov 3, 2011 at 2:47 PM

        @halladaysbiceps

        He’s been used sparingly his whole career. And he doesn’t hit. I have no idea what the hell you’re talking about.

      • halladaysbiceps - Nov 3, 2011 at 3:04 PM

        falcon,

        Your missing my point. For the 2012 season, I will gladly take Valdez and another scrub at SS and use the money that it would take to sign Rollins and Madson to upgrade 3rd base, the outfield and the bench. I would rather get stronger/younger and change the face of the lineup at other positions than invest in a 33 year old SS that refuses to be the leadoff leader this lineup desperately needs. I need a better overall lineup.

        Do you understand now, falcon?

      • CJ - Nov 3, 2011 at 3:06 PM

        Now that I can agree with, except for the part about how Valdez being older than Rollins fits in your “younger/stronger” point. Change that to Galvis and Martinez, and you’re dead on.

      • halladaysbiceps - Nov 3, 2011 at 3:12 PM

        CJ,

        Galvis needs a full year in AAA. He will not be up for the 2012 season. Every scout in the system has said that’s he’s not ready (his bat needs more work even though his glove is MLB ready). They don’t want to make the same mistake with Brown and rush him. It could screw him up if he struggles.

        I really don’t care who plays SS, as long as they can field decent. Valdez, Martinez, outside cheap FA, I don’t care. All I want is to utilize Rollins and Madson’s money to improve other positions that have more depth in the FA market that can hit. The SS market blows this year beyond the top 2 (Reyes and Rollins).

      • halladaysbiceps - Nov 3, 2011 at 3:28 PM

        Here’s the bottom line. For a 3rd straight year, this Phillies lineup has gone into funks throughout the regular season and have not hit in major playoff games when it’s counted. I can’t go through another year of it. If it means making certain sacrifices (like saying goodbye to long time Phillies such as Rollins), then that’s the way it’s gotta be. This great rotation’s pitching (like Doc’s game 5 in the NLDS) cannot be wasted another year. Wholesale changes need to be made. Give me a more consistent lineup that isn’t extremely streaky like this bunch.

  3. Jonny 5 - Nov 3, 2011 at 12:13 PM

    Valdez is an offensive liability actually. He hits into more double plays than Hugh Heffner. I see the Phillies signing Jimmy to 3 years with a 4th year option. Amaro will con the egomaniac in Jimmy to take it as he’s bound to be great in 4 season from now anyway ( I doubt it, Amaro doubts it).

    • CJ - Nov 3, 2011 at 12:17 PM

      But Heffner doesn’t hit into half as many DPs as Jeter, so there’s that.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 3, 2011 at 12:29 PM

        Yeah but Hugh Heffner hits into the elusive triple play very often. And two of them are identical twins.

        I hate Hugh Heffner. He’s either sold his soul to the Devil, or the Devil himself.

      • cur68 - Nov 3, 2011 at 1:22 PM

        I bet Heffner’s on the performance enhancers…

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 3, 2011 at 1:55 PM

        If they were your 3 gf’s you would be as well. Wouldn’t cha? I hate Hugh Heffner……….

      • sasquash20 - Nov 3, 2011 at 3:59 PM

        How can you hate Heffner? The man invented Playboy. Then he lived his life the same way. Don’t be jealous and be a hater. I’m sure he takes performance enhancers hes in his 80s!!!!!! Lets hope we are still alive in are 80s, let alone banging super hot big breasted blonds. We should all be grateful for HH, hes shown us that you don’t have to be a sheep. You can be your own man. I love HH!

    • paperlions - Nov 3, 2011 at 12:23 PM

      Yeah, I kind of think he’ll stay as well. I don’t see anyone giving him more than 3 years…if Philly goes to 3 years, the money should be close enough to whatever anyone else is offering for him to stay.

  4. Kyle - Nov 3, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    But… .a .622 winning percentage! This is just not something you can argue against!

  5. drunkenhooliganism - Nov 3, 2011 at 12:27 PM

    Valdez is a tremendous falloff. And just to back up my observations of his suckiness, baseball prospectus has him rated as below replacement level for his career. defensively, he has a very strong arm but he envies Jeter’s range. And he’s a horrible baserunner.

    Not only is he a falloff, he’s such a dramatic falloff that it might cause Rubes nightmares and make him overspend on Rollins. Rollins knows this.

    • Jonny 5 - Nov 3, 2011 at 12:34 PM

      “The Phils had a better record over the last two seasons when Valdez started at shortstop than when Rollins did. Even if you throw out the seven games Rollins started during the eight-game “hangover” this season, his win percentage (.622) is lower …”

      Maybe it has something to do with Victorino being lead off hitter during those games, more than it has anything to do with Valdez. Call me crazy….

      • CJ - Nov 3, 2011 at 12:39 PM

        Come on Jonny we Philly fans aren’t supposed to be rational. You’re killing our rep!

    • Francisco (FC) - Nov 3, 2011 at 1:36 PM

      Rube would rather throw Galvis into the fire than depend on Valdez I’m sure.

  6. mdpickles - Nov 3, 2011 at 12:34 PM

    Somewhere, a retired David Eckstein is wishing people would take OPS+, WAR, etc., and shove it.

  7. halladaysbiceps - Nov 3, 2011 at 12:41 PM

    I think most of you are missing the point that this lineup has become stale and needs a new leadoff hitter and a new look. Rollins has been a pain in the ass with his insistence to leadoff. If Rollins wants to come back for the right money and years AND will not bitch by hitting 6th or 7th in the lineup, I’m OK with him coming back. If not, so long.

    Valdez is not an everyday player. We are all in agreement with that. But, coupled with a mid-level FA SS pickup, Valdez can platoon and be serviceable.

    This lineup has had spells of anemia at several points throughout the season. We all saw them go into various slumps throughout the season. They need a fundamental philosophy change. Ruben Amaro said so if you read between the lines what he said after they lost in the NLDS. Maybe cutting loose Rollins is the way to go. Sometimes addition by subtraction is a good thing. Doc and Lee aren’t getting any younger. Now is the time to change this lineup over more so than they have done in years to score more runs for this rotation.

    • Jonny 5 - Nov 3, 2011 at 12:53 PM

      You’re right Biceps (well besides platooning Valdez imo). But I think Jimmy will be replaced by Shane, and rightfully so as lead off bat. But not replaced as SS. I think he’ll stay, he’s good enough to stay, he just needs to be moved from the #1 spot.

      Unless Amaro has some sort of other plan which involves an even better SS? We will never know until it happens. This is another scenario as Jimmy does seem to come up gimpy a little too often.

      • halladaysbiceps - Nov 3, 2011 at 1:00 PM

        If the Phillies can make a major offensive upgrade at 3rd base and get younger, you can take a step back and downgrade at SS, short-term. This is where Amaro will need to be creative. We know Utley, Ruiz, Pence and Howard aren’t going anywhere. That leaves (4) other positions that they possibly could remake this lineup into a better contact/hitting club.

        Notice I didn’t put Victorino in that list. He may be needed to trade for some younger talent to fulfill another position’s need, as well as bench/bullpen help.

        I know you don’t like the idea of trading Victorino, Jonny. But, this is where Amaro needs to be creative. All that matters is making this a much more consistent lineup.

    • phillyphreak - Nov 3, 2011 at 12:54 PM

      That stale leadoff hitter was such a waste in the playoffs wasn’t he….

      “Sometimes addition by subtraction is a good thing. ”

      I think we can all agree that Valdez is FAR from an everyday player. The following is a list of the FA SS this season from Cot’s Baseball

      Yuniesky Betancourt MIL *
      Ronny Cedeno PIT
      Adam Everett CLE
      Rafael Furcal LAD
      Alex Gonzalez ATL
      Cesar Izturis BAL
      John McDonald TOR
      Augie Ojeda ARI
      Jose Reyes NYM
      Nick Punto STL
      Edgar Renteria CIN
      Jose Reyes NYM
      Jimmy Rollins PHI
      Ramon Santiago DET
      Jack Wilson SEA

      Who excites you out of that bunch? Valdez isn’t even worthy of a platoon (he can’t hit period) and aside from Reyes, Rollins is the best SS in there. Galvis may have a glove but he can’t really hit that well. If they can get Rollins at a decent contract cool. I’m even okay with him leading off

      Your point is valid though when you say they need a philosophy change. I think (hope) RAJ can get some OBP guys to fill out the lineup where needed.

      • CJ - Nov 3, 2011 at 1:01 PM

        It really depends on what role they’re looking for out of their SS, if they’re looking for a vet to get them another year or two, then there are a couple options there. If they want a longer-term guy, there isn’t much out there.

        It’s just a matter of whether they want an SS that can lead off, one that has a little pop, or one that is an above average 7 or 8 hole hitter that can turn the lineup around. There’s a little of everything in there, but not one guy that’s a definitive answer. Except maybe Reyes, but the cost and risk with that are probably too steep for the Phils. A great deal of that expectation hinges on what else they do, particularly regarding the situations at first and third.

        Yet another reason why I think they’ll pursue the trade market at SS mid-season and see how the kids develop for a couple months before committing one way or another.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 3, 2011 at 1:05 PM

        Exactly……..

        Unless it’s Reyes, it’s not really “better”. I just think they need to move him back in the line up. Reyes is going to be expensive.

      • phillyphreak - Nov 3, 2011 at 1:46 PM

        But what would you expect to be available on the trade market? I think your best choice right now is Rollins, if it’s a fair contract. He’s a better defender than all of those other SS and gets on base more.

        The problem with trading Victorino is that you weaken your OF.

      • CJ - Nov 3, 2011 at 3:04 PM

        phreak,

        Rollins won’t sign a fair contract, at least, not what my definition of “fair” would be. Paying him takes money away from being able to fill other holes on this team. I would prefer to keep Victorino and let Rollins go, and improve the team that way other than vice versa. This team doesn’t need to get any older.

        If you improve the team elsewhere, then you can win with a SS such as Martinez/Galvis hitting 8th. I’m fine with assuming that going in to this season. If that turns out to be incorrect, then make a move. To your point, I don’t know what will be available on the trade market this summer right now, it’s way early to give a specific name. (“oh we should screw FA and trade for player Y in June” sounds a bit irrational even for me).

        With that said, I saw Theriot mentioned earlier, that wouldn’t be terrible. Infante was supposedly available this past year at the deadline, again not a horrible idea. Doesn’t have to be a stud (HanRam) or highly touted young gun (Castro, Dee Gordon) or anything too crazy. I’ll go out on a limb and say that if Martinez/Galvis struggle in the 8th slot enough to make a deal necessary, then it’s safe to assume an improvement will be pretty easy to come by.

        I saw Theriot mentioned higher up, that wouldn’t be horrible.

      • phillyphreak - Nov 3, 2011 at 3:37 PM

        1) We don’t really know if Rollins will sign a fair contract until he signs a contract. He may find out that not many teams are willing to go more than 3-4 years on him anyway. So if he signs for 3 years/40 million that’s fair to me.

        2) Why do people think Theriot is good? Lower OBP, wOBA, WAR than Rollins last season and is not even close to the same defender Rollins is. Everyone saying this team needs to get younger and get on base more. Well, at least they’d get younger.

        3) “it’s safe to assume an improvement will be pretty easy to come by.” – Maybe an improvement over Martinez/Galvis/Random scrub but not to the level that Rollins contributed.

        4) Ok so Rollins walks and you need to improve the team. Who do you target?

      • CJ - Nov 3, 2011 at 4:17 PM

        1) 3/40 is still more than my liking, but I can see your reasoning

        2) I didn’t research it, you just asked for names and I threw a couple against the wall.

        3) That’s exactly my point. Rollins’ production in the lineup would be replaced at another position that is deeper in FA this year. Admittedly, this weakens the bat you have at SS, but strengthens the lineup overall. If the kids don’t work out, you can improve the position cheaply. No SS on the team needs to match Rollins’ production if you’re replacing his bat at another position.

        4) Bullpen needs help. There is potential for some development on the pharm that can help, but they need at least one established lefty veteran and a closer (whether that’d Madson or someone else).

        As far as a bat goes, I want a strong bat that can play the infield & outfield corners. Whether it’s one guy that fits both molds, or it takes two guys to fill that role I don’t really care. But with the injuries to Polanco and Howard, coupled with Ibanez’s departure and Brown’s struggles, that’s where this team can improve the most. There is also a little more depth at some of those positions in FA than there is at SS. Mayberry did well and can fill some of those gaps from within, but we need to be careful not to rely on him too much.
        – Could they get Cuddyer on a shorter deal? Yeah, he’s 32 and doesn’t fit the getting younger philosophy, but his flexibility and power would fill huge needs. His hitting stats are better than Rollins’ similar age, but would come cheaper.
        – They’ve liked Willingham for quite some time, but he needs to get on base more for my liking.
        – I’d love to see them make a run at Sizemore on an incentive-laden deal. He’s a risk, but the potential payoff is huge, and would come at a reasonable price. Moving him to left may reduce his injury risk as well. Also, if you’re looking at strictly OF, Kubel can play the corners in the outfield. Still would need help in the infield if either was brought in, but stick him in left and move Mayberry to first and that solves some of your problems. Either would be an improvement over Rollins batting-wise. Not only must their power numbers be factored in, but moving Shane to leadoff improves the lineup by default. Dont’ give me injury concerns either. Yes, they’re valid, concern regarding Rollings is valid as well

      • phillyphreak - Nov 3, 2011 at 4:57 PM

        Cuddyer just made 10.5 million last year and this is probably his last chance at a big deal. So even if he takes a paycut, he’ll still cost a good amount of money. Plus he is a poor defender.

        I’m with you on Sizemore though. I would totally do an incentive laden deal to get him.

        Oh and injury concerns are given to you!

  8. hank10 - Nov 3, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    And as we all know, stats, by themselves, are the be-all end-all. Game situations, who was on the mound, who they were playing, none of that matters. This same line of thinking is what won Bobby Abreu his lone Gold Glove. Oy.

  9. Bryz - Nov 3, 2011 at 1:18 PM

    Does this mean I should convince myself that Drew Butera is a better catching option than Joe Mauer?

  10. jeffhink - Nov 3, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    The scariest part about that blog is that the comments agree that Valdez would be just as good as (a lot even say better than) Rollins by at least a 2:1 ratio. The guys a goat, not a starting SS.

    • halladaysbiceps - Nov 3, 2011 at 3:32 PM

      Not the issue. The lineup needs to be shaken up. You have to look at the totality of this lineup, not just comparing who’s better at SS. Rollins is not a leadoff hitter, will throw a fit if Charlie has him move down in the order, and wants too much money over too many years. His money could be used to upgrade/get younger at another position. You weaken one position to get stronger at multiple positions.

      • phillyphreak - Nov 3, 2011 at 3:46 PM

        This seems to be a common belief among some here:

        ‘You weaken one position to get stronger at multiple position”

        1) Who are you signing to get stronger and what positions?

        2) To get stronger, the difference between” former player and stronger player” must be greater than the difference between Rollins and his replacement.

      • halladaysbiceps - Nov 3, 2011 at 3:59 PM

        phreak,

        I won’t even to begin to speculate on who the Phillies will sign or trade for. I’ve always found it pointless to guess because I will be wrong and so will 99% of the people and pundits that do it for a living. I can only tell you what I see wrong with the lineup and what they need to upgrade.

        Here’s my priorities for upgrades:

        1). 3rd base. This is a power position. Need more power and a guy that can hit. Polanco will be coming off a double sports hernia injury, is 36 and in the last year of his contract. Relegate Polanco to the bench and upgrade here.

        2). Left Fielder that can hit for average/has some pop. Mayberry Jr. will need to play 1st for at least until the all-star break with his injury. Brown is not ready. Need to fill this position.

        3). Bench needs upgrade. Gload will not be returning. Also, Martinez isn’t a viable option.

        4). Closer: I do not sign Madson. I use his money to address above needs.

        5). Scrub SS that has good glove. Don’t care if he hits. Rollins doesn’t resign. I also use his money to address above needs.

      • CJ - Nov 3, 2011 at 4:25 PM

        the fact is SS is a premium position in FA this year. A bunch of teams need it and the supply is low. That drives the cost up. It’s not hard to fathom.

        There are other positions not in as much demand where you can get a better bat than Rollins (becuase the talent pool at 3b/of for example is deeper, for less than it would take to keep Rollins (becuase the demand is lower). This isn’t hard to understand.

        And yes ‘cepts and I would be hoping that, for example, new 3B + unproven SS > status quo at the two positions. That’s an astute observation. Conversely, you’re oppostiion to change is hoping that an older Rollins plus an older Polanco, both of which are older and have injury histories will be better than anything else the Phillies can do to improve the team. I’d take my chances with shaping things up and moving Shane to leadoff. The potential for improvement there is greater than it would be if you kept everything the same.

      • jeffhink - Nov 4, 2011 at 8:54 AM

        That’s not the point I was making at all. I agree with everything you said, but can you agree with me that Valdez is nowhere near the SS that Rollins is? Because that seems to be the minority view over on whathisface’s post on Bloop Stats.

  11. ncphilliesguy - Nov 3, 2011 at 3:48 PM

    Valdez is better than people realize. Comparing his range to Jeter is comical. He does hit into too many DP’s, he doesn’t have a lot a power, and he is not an average baserunner. However, he has the strongest arm on the team, makes a lot of contact and has a tendency to get a big hit when you wouldn’t expect it. And I got that insight by watching every game, not by going to another website or calculating his WAR. HB is exactly right. I am not arguing that Valdez is a better player than Rollins. But calling Valdez a goat is mean and incorrect.

    • snowbirdgothic - Nov 3, 2011 at 11:25 PM

      Absolutely. For example, Wilson Valdez chili would probably taste terrible, and if they’d given the singing goat role in “Hoodwinked” to Wilson Valdez, I doubt the movie would have been half as funny as it was.

      This is just another variant on the “most popular guy in town is the backup quarterback” argument. Valdez is a nice backup with a decent glove, but he couldn’t stick with the Mariners when they were kidnapping people from local rec softball leagues and sticking them at shortstop. Thinking that he’s an adequate replacement for Rollins – even the oft-injured Rollins of recent years – is like thinking Ripper Owens was going to be a legend as the lead singer of Judas Priest.

  12. schmedley69 - Nov 3, 2011 at 9:40 PM

    Jimmy isn’t what he used to be at the plate, but he’s still better than Valdez. Even if they lose Jimmy, I doubt that Amaro would give the starting job to Valdez.

  13. somekat - Nov 3, 2011 at 10:14 PM

    Anyone that thinks they need to tell people the Phillies would be stronger at SS with Rollins than they would with Valdez is an idiot

    The point is, the TEAM (you know, the whole lineup), would be better with a light hitting SS, Victorino leading off (someone who actually hits like a leadoff hitter), while using Rollins and Ibanez’s money to upgrade LF and 3B.

    If Rollins were willing to bat in the 6-7 spot and let Victorino lead off, I’d have no problem at all with bringing him back. But he won’t, so personally, I’d let him walk. 3 straight years now this team has come up small when it matters, they need to make changes to the lineup. They don’t need a top of the lineup SS, but if they could get a top of the lineup 3B and LF, they’d be in better shape overall

  14. Walk - Nov 4, 2011 at 12:23 AM

    Not sure what is available via trade for third sackers. If you are looking at free agents unless phillie get albert pujols and asks him to man third full time best option may be casey blake. Other than that polanco is as good as anyone else imo. Third is a thin crowd, young great ones are really rare, and most of the rest played other positions and picked up third after their primes. Third is the least represented position in the hall for a reason. Honestly the very best i could see happening is making a team an offer they could not refuse and grabbing someone like david wright but i guarantee if such a trade could be pulled off it would have to be an overpayment of the highest order. My apologies to phillie faithful, i normally reserve my comments another team but i have truly enjoyed the games i have watched these last few years. The outstanding lady who stole my heart is a phillie die hard and i have found myself in quite a relationship as i am a braves fan. Good luck in the off season.

  15. flyerscup2010 - Nov 4, 2011 at 8:59 AM

    and this, my friends, is why the inquirer and daily news are dying newspapers.

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