Jayson Stark doesn’t think the Philies should sign Chone Figgins because Figgins is a leadoff hitter and the Phillies already have a leadoff hitter.
“What happens if they try to install Figgins in the leadoff hole? That has the potential to create a gigantic problem because they’d have to sell it to their current leadoff man, some guy named Jimmy Rollins. And that won’t be easy. So to me Adrian Beltre, Mark DeRosa and Placido Polanco are much better fits for them, depending on the asking price.”
Rollins had a .296 OBP in 2009, which was the third lowest in the National League, behind only Clint Barmes and Bengie Molina. Because he still has some power and speed, Rollins isn’t a total loss offensively. But leadoff hitters are supposed to get on base and score runs, and because of Rollins’ inability to get on base he’s a terrible fit for the leadoff spot.
Granted, the Phils have been to two consecutive World Series with Rollins batting leadoff, but I think it’s safe to say that in 2009 the Phils succeeded despite Rollins offense (which Fangraphs says was worh -10 runs), not because of it. In fact, whether or not the Phillies sign Figgins, Rollins shouldn’t bat leadoff in 2010. Shane Victorino would be a much better candidate.
I’m of the belief that if your team is using a guy with a sub-.310 OBP in the leadoff spot, somebody should be fired. Probably the manager. Maybe the GM. Possibly both. But I must be in the minority because last season, of the 10 guys with the lowest OBPs in the NL, three of them (Rollins, Guzman and Soriano) batted leadoff most of the year, and one of them (Bonifacio) batted leadoff for nearly half the season.
You’ll hear a lot of Philly fans bitch about Charlie Manuel’s allegiance to closer Brad Lidge, but his willingness to stick with Rollins at the leadoff spot is an equally great crime.