When the Los Angeles Dodgers traded for veteran shortstop Jimmy Rollins it was viewed as a move to help bridge the gap to Corey Seager, who will likely be called up to the Majors on a full-time basis next season.
While Rollins may in some regards be a holdover until Seager arrives, he also brings with him veteran leadership and World Series experience. Aside from that however, Rollins has not played up to the potential that the Dodgers hoped he would.
Including Monday’s three-run home run, Rollins is batting .208/.272/.354 with seven home runs and 18 RBIs. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly removed him from the leadoff spot in favor of Joc Pederson, but has otherwise continued to stick by his veteran shortstop.
“I’m fine with Jimmy,” Mattingly said recently. “I think he’s been swinging the bat pretty good. The other night I put him back in the two-hole for the day just because of the guys we had in there and he hits a bullet to short and a bullet to first so we cant control that part of it.”
Rollins’ .354 slugging percentage would be the second-lowest of his career, only percentage points ahead of the .348 he slugged in 2013. Furthermore, he’s on pace to finish with more than 100 strikeouts, something he’s only done four times over his 15-year career.
Aside from the Dodgers not having another everyday option at shortstop, what may be Rollins’ saving grace is his glove. “We’re comfortable with defense,” Mattingly said. “We’re comfortable with everything we get.” Rollins has committed six errors this season, and although none have been throwing, he’s well ahead of last year’s pace when he finished with seven errors in 131 games played.
Assuming Rollins is able to pull himself out of the ongoing slump, which he and Mattingly both believe will happen, he should be able to hold off Seager this season. The young shortstop is batting a combined .326 with nine home runs, two triples, 15 doubles and 33 RBIs in 54 games with Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Since being promoted to Triple-A, Seager is hitting .298/.355/.461 with four home runs and 19 RBIs over 35 games, including a historic 6-for-6 day where he came up a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
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