Washington Nationals Rumors: Nats Checking In On Jimmy Rollins

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If the Nationals lose out on Zobrist, could they look to a former Phillies’ shortstop as their plan B?

With Ian Desmond likely leaving the Washington Nationals via free agency, all signs point to Trea Turner to be the shortstop in 2016. Turner was acquired along with Joe Ross last offseason from the San Diego Padres in the Wil Myers/Steven Souza deal last offseason. However, could the Nationals look to a veteran to fill in until Turner is ready to play everyday.

According to Buster Olney of ESPN, the Nationals are looking into former Dodgers and Phillies’ shortstop Jimmy Rollins if they are unable to land their top position player target, infielder Ben Zobrist:

Zobrist is scheduled to interview with the Nationals tomorrow, according to James Wagner of the Washington Post. It has been reported that Washington is one of the three teams that are the finalists for Zobrist along with the San Francisco Giants and the New York Mets. However, as I pointed out in an article over the weekend, Rollins would not be a bad idea for the Nats as a bench option.

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This past season, Rollins had a slash line of .224/,285/.358 in 144 games with 13 home runs, 41 RBI’s, and 12 stolen bases in 20 chances. Rollins struggled as a starter in the first half of the season when he hit .213. But, in the second half, he was able to flourish in fewer at-bats. He had a .241 average with five home runs, 12 RBI’s, and a .313 on-base percentage over the final 202 at-bats of the season.

While Rollins is 37 years old, he is a player that could be a veteran backup for Turner just like he was with Corey Seager this past season for the Dodgers. Plus, another factor to a possible Rollins signing is the fact that he was teammates with Jayson Werth and he is familiar with the new first base coach, Davey Lopes. Lopes was the first base coach in Philadelphia from 2007-2010.

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This season, Rollins had most of his success against right-handed pitching as a switch-hitter. He had a slash line of .297/.339/.423 with two home runs and 13 RBI’s (.204 average against right-handed pitching).

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While Zobrist is the primary target for the Nationals, this would not be a bad plan B for the organization. Rollins could provide leadership in the clubhouse, be a good veteran option off the bench, and it allows the team to still take their time with Turner, who will be 23 in June, without rushing him to being an everyday player right away.

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