Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins has been known to be a confident guy. He’s cocky, he has swagger, and he generally backs it up on the field. Of course it’s easy to front as a tough guy when you have a bunch of 6’5″ 250 pound giants backing you up, and that’s the case for Rollins.
After winning 97 games last season and reaching the NLCS before losing to the Giants, the Phillies brought in Cliff Lee — who helped spark their World Series run in 2009 — to bolster their already strong rotation. Because of the improvement, Rollins guaranteed the team would win 100 games this season, according to a tweet from reporter Matt Gelb.
It may be a bold prediction, but it seems to be within reach for the Phillies. They’ve upgraded their staff to a historically good level, and they have plenty of sluggers in the lineup. Still, Chase Utley is coming back from injury, Raul Ibanez had a down year, and they lost Jayson Werth. On top of all that, they need their bullpen to repeat last year’s success enjoyed by Ryan Madson, Brad Lidge, and Jose Contreras, and they have to compete with the rest of the league.
The NL Central and NL West have several strong teams, and the Braves should present a challenge in the East. Oh yeah, and Rollins is in a contract year and stunk the past two seasons (largely because he got hurt). If the Phils are to win 100 games — which won’t be easy — they’ll need contributions from everyone, especially Rollins who has been a disappointment lately. As LBS writer Alan Hull put it to me best, it’s put up or shut up for Jimmy.