The Los Angeles Dodgers underwent plenty of changes during the offseason, but the goals remain the same for 2015 — win the division and win the World Series.
Dee Gordon, Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez are chief among those who are no longer with the club, and names and faces who endeared themselves to Los Angeles. Howie Kendrick and Jimmy Rollins are among the new faces now with the Dodgers — both popular in their own right.
Since being traded to the Dodgers, Rollins has discussed leadership within the Dodgers’ clubhouse and his desire to be viewed as a leader on multiple occasions, including during his introductory press conference at Dodger Stadium.
The 15-year veteran shortstop recently put action behind his words when he approached Yasiel Puig in the clubhouse, according to J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News:
You can’t make that happen. You can’t force it, to talk to somebody for two hours. It was a good thing and I was happy I did it. I was going to do that anyway with a number of guys on the team. He happened to be here by himself, with his cousin actually, who acted as the interpreter. It was just an opportunity and I took advantage of it.”
While Puig’s reputation precedes him, Rollins viewed the conversation as an opportunity to get to know his new teammate:
It’s just learning him,” Rollins said. “I don’t come in with any judgments. I don’t have the right to. I don’t have the experiences to. I get to come in clean slate and find out for myself.”
This season will marks Rollins’ first of his career not playing for the Philadelphia Phillies and he departed first in the organization with hits (2,306) and doubles (479), second in stolen bases (453) and games played (2,090) and third in runs scored (1,325).
The 36-year-old Rollins waived his no-trade clause to join the Dodgers, a team in a better position than the Phillies to immediately contend for a World Series. While Rollins will play a key role in the club’s success, so too will Puig, who enters the year with plenty of pressure and expectations surrounding him.
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