Rollins eager to help end Dodgers drought
Jimmy Rollins has spent half of his life as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. On the day he was officially traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, he spoke about the past, and the challenges that lay ahead.
Jimmy Rollins had just finished some pilates work this morning at his home in Tampa when the phone call he'd waited a week for finally came through. It was from Dodgers team president Andrew Friedman.
Rollins was no longer a Philadelphia Phillie.
"The Phillies are going one way," Rollins said, "and now I'm going in a different direction."
Here are some highlights of Rollins's teleconference with Phillies beat writers on the day he was officially traded.
Q: What's this mean to you, leaving a place you've spent half your life, you're entire 15-year career?
Rollins: "It just means, really my time there is up. At this moment, that's what it is. Obviously, I'm not surprised to be traded. No one was, especially considering I told Ruben that's where I wanted to go. So it's just a matter of getting the right players and getting it done. The Phillies are going one way and now I'm going in a different direction."
Q: You said repeatedly in the past, including during the last week of the season, you weren't interesting in waiving no-trade clause, you wanted to stay here, you were confident front office would continue to try to build a winner. What or when did that change?
Rollins: "It never changed. It just got to the point where... At the end of the season, Ruben and I talked maybe three or four days after the season ended. He told me the direction the organization was going. He always said if I ever had a change of heart to just come and let him know. I told him then that I signed the deal and my plan was to honor the contract.
About a month later, he called and just said he wanted to let me know what was going on on the Young James front, as he called me. The Mets, the Yankees and the Padres had some interest. At that point, he can't really ask me to be traded. But I was able to read between the lines. So I just told him that if he could get me over to LA, we could make something happen.
Q: Why the attraction to Los Angeles in particular?
Rollins: It's west, one. But most importantly, they're like where we were in our run. Maybe even slightly younger than when we were in the middle of our run. They have a great staff. They have a team over there that is built to win right now. And that's what is important, going out there every day knowing that you're going to compete with a chance to win - and not just win April through September, but a chance to win October.
Q: Rumors last month about Yankees - any interest there, to succeed Derek Jeter?
Rollins: "I didn't have any reservations at all, but if I had been 10 years younger, and then, yeah, it'd make perfect sense to me to go there and have a lot of time to… you never would forget about Derek Jeter, but to come in and make a mark, after Derek Jeter, you can only do that if you're there for a significant amount of time. Also, the Yankees, they beat us in 2009. They have a recent World Series. The Dodgers, if I'm correct last were in the World series when they won the one that broke my heart back in 1988. they do have the history, like the Yankees do, but they haven't won a World Series in a long time. So that's a new challenge, something that I feel that hopefully we can accomplish and I can be a part of, another drought being broken."
Q: What will you miss the most about Philadelphia?
Rollins: "That's a good question. Right field is a little closer here than it is in Dodger Stadium. Just about the city itself- it's a great place. I love to eat food and it's a great place to go out to eat and experience different cultures of food. Its different- I'm from the West Coast and I'm more familiar with how people are from the west coast. It took me a while to get adjusted to how people are on the East Coast. I now understand the people and now I have to re-understand the people from the West. Going into that ballpark, it was brand new unlike Dodger Stadium and it was a beautiful place to play. When we were winner, it was a fantastic place to be. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else."
Q: Do you plan on playing beyond 2015?
Rollins: "Oh yeah, I'm going to play beyond this year. Hopefully I'll go out and have a fantastic season this year and the Dodgers will want to give me an extension to stay on the West Coast."
Q: Tough call on your part, wanting to stay in one place for your whole career vs. playing for a winner before time ran out?
Rollins: "I asked a lot of questions about it to my agent and family members knowing this day was going come whether it was now or next year- the possibility of me having to switch teams is real. I just kinda looked at the guys that I grew up watching- 49er great Joe Montana. As great as he was, there eventually came a point that it was Steve Young's turn. When he left, I don't think it hurt his legacy. He was obviously going to always be a 49er, and that short time in KC was at the end of his career. The bulk of his career and all of his accomplishments happened in one uniform and that's pretty much the same with me. I hope to accomplish a number of more things in whatever uniform I wearing. But my career and accomplishments and me becoming who I am all happened in one uniform."
Q: Thought about what it's going to be like to play here the first week of August?
Rollins: "Shoot, I don't know man. I'll worry about that when I get there, honestly. Right now I'm worrying about where the heck I'm going to (live)."