Courtesy of Nat Enquirer; this video of Jimmy Rollins classlessly giving the Nats zero credit for having the best record in the majors in 2012.
Specifically, “With us healthy, they’re a second-place team. But we weren’t.”
But that’s the problem that Rollins needs to understand; when you build your team on the backs of aging players … you’re NEVER going to be as healthy as you expect to be. There’s a reason the Nats didn’t lose ONE start to injury all year; our pitchers are younger and healthier. Philadelphia has built a rotation of aging stars and free agents. Cliff Lee missed 3 starts this year, Cole Hamels missed a couple, and Roy Halladay missed 7 or 8. Those guys are 33, 28 and 35 this year. They’re not getting any younger and likely will miss starts again in 2013.
How about Philadelphia’s positional players? Ryan Howard only played 71 games. Chase Utley only 83. Placido Polanco just 90. Carlos Ruiz missed all of August. Maybe you can argue that the two big names from this list should start 2013 healthy and that may make a difference. Fair enough, except that Howard is 32, Utley is 33, and both now have a slew of injuries on their resume. Nobody should assuming those guys are playing 150+ next year.
Meanwhile, Washington had a TON of time lost to injuries in its offense. Desmond missed a month. Morse missed two. Werth missed half the season. Zimmerman lost a few weeks. And we went through no less than SIX catchers on the season. And the team persevered, struggled offensively most of the early part of the year, and maintained its lead.
Philadelphia made its choices, signing major dollar contracts to extend its own guys and to buy its rotation and its key bullpen members. And now you have to live with those decisions, which leave you with an aging roster overpaying for the decline years of your players. Meanwhile Washington rode the wave of 100-loss seasons, committed to building its farm system, didn’t overpay for Free Agents, and now sits with one of the youngest teams in baseball (3rd youngest pitching staff and youngest on-field staff), with a below-average payroll and the best record in the majors.
Sour Grapes Jimmy Rollins. You should get used to 3rd place because its probably where the Phillies reside for the next several years, until you can jettison your ill-signed contracts and start over.