There is one Phillie who is never shy to speak his mind. He’s the team leader, the shortstop, the longest tenured player. But he also has found a habit of letting his mouth get him in some trouble.
That’s right, Jimmy Rollins was at it again Wednesday on the Dan Patrick Show on ESPN Radio. This time the shortstop had some questions for the team’s front office about why former Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee was no longer sporting the red pinstripes.
“I have no idea,” Rollins said when asked why the team was unable to keep Lee, who led the staff to the World Series in 2009. “I’m sure we could afford him. We turned nearly four million people through the turnstiles last year. I don’t know. You should have [GM] Ruben [Amaro Jr.] on here.”
Fans wondered the same thing before Amaro offered the explination that they needed to trade Lee, as a part of the four-team deal that brought Roy Halladay to Philadelphia in order to boost their farm system.
Most fans didn’t buy it.
“When the trade happened, I actually got a text from [teammate] 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.’ ”
In fact, it wasn’t. It was in a completely separate trade, that just all happened at the same time. Technically, the Phillies could have gotten Halladay and kept Lee. The only thing they would have lost is the prospects they acquired from Seattle, in case you needed to be reminded of a scenario which was seldom forgotten in this city over the offseason.
Rollins sides with the fans, who thought the loss was over money, calling the front office out.
“I thought we had enough to keep [Lee],” he said. “I thought we could have done enough to keep him. I guess that’s just a move the Yankees do. … That’s just the truth. The Yankees would have been like, ‘Hey, we got a chance to keep both of them. We’ll pay them both for a year or two and we got a chance to win a championship.’ ”
The reality is the Phils aren’t the Yanks. The Bronx Bombers nearly double the Phils’ payroll, which is fourth in the majors. Whether you agree with Jimmy or not, there’s a lot to be said of a guy who so blatantly speaks his mind and tells the truth. Maybe Donovan could take a few notes.