LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jimmy Rollins waived his no-trade clause after 14 years in Philadelphia to join the Los Angeles Dodgers, where the 36-year-old will replace Hanley Ramirez at shortstop.
It’s a big move for a kid who grew up in the Bay Area disliking the Dodgers. But Rollins was all smiles as he put on a blue cap and slipped into his No. 11 jersey on Wednesday, delighted to be wearing his favorite color of blue.
Rollins called the Dodgers “a place that has history and wants to win. It wasn’t happening in Philly at the moment, so I’m here.”
The Dodgers finalized their trade for the All-Star last month, when they sent right-hander Zach Eflin and left-hander Tim Windle to the Phillies for Rollins and $1 million to cover part of his $11 million salary this year.
Rollins has spoken to Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, and the shortstop’s first question was about the leadership in the clubhouse.
“He pretty much let me know how he wants me to fit in, be the glue that pretty much holds everything together,” Rollins said.
New Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi endorsed Rollins’ ability to be a positive influence.
“His reputation is very well known around baseball as being a great leader,” Zaidi said.
Rollins takes over as the starting shortstop in an infield that includes Howie Kendrick, a 31-year-old second baseman who had spent his entire career with the rival Angels until his recent move. Rollins has one year left on his current contract.
“If they respect you, they’re going to listen,” he said of his new teammates. “I’m here to win and push you to be at your best. One year could turn into more than that.”
Rollins credited his wife, Johari, who has worked as a personal trainer, for keeping him spry even though he joked, “Shoot, I’m sore right now.
“She came in and took all my treats out,” he said, nodding at his wife in the first row. “She’s inspired me to stay healthy.”
Rollins, a three-time All-Star, hit .243 last season with 11 homers, 55 RBIs and 28 steals. The 2007 NL MVP had started 14 consecutive openers for the Phillies, helping Philadelphia win the 2008 World Series.
“It wasn’t the best,” he said about his final years in Philly. “After ’11, the magic was gone.”
So what else is left for him to accomplish?
“Haven’t won enough rings,” he said. “Hopefully, I can make up for that here.”
Rollins was welcomed by Dodger legends Tommy Lasorda and Don Newcombe.
“We’re going to be a fun team to watch, and you’re going to get our best,” Rollins said. “The only pitfall can be guys pulling in different directions.”
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