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Rollins rips Reyes' move, praises year

PHILADELPHIA -- Jimmy Rollins smiled Friday when asked if it is a good or bad thing that he is headed for free agency during the same year as the consensus No. 1 available shortstop, Jose Reyes.

"It's very good,'' Rollins said. "I don't know anything that would be bad about it. Makes for great comparisons.''

Then, for about 10 minutes, Rollins went into greater detail about the differences between himself and Reyes, many of them not particularly flattering to the Mets' shortstop.

Rollins, the 2007 National League MVP, took issue with Reyes' decision to bunt-and-bolt in the first inning of Wednesday's season finale at Citi Field. The ploy helped Reyes lock up the batting title with a .337 average, but coming out of the game that early didn't sit well with Rollins.

"I'd have played the whole game -- that's me, though,'' Rollins said. "I fought this hard, to be in this position, and I'm going to see it all the way through to the end. My personality, I'm going to ride it out. I worked this hard to be this good and put up these numbers, I could see it all the way to the end.''

Rollins is a career .272 hitter, and the high point for him was 2007, when he batted .296. This season, in terms of offensive performance, he wasn't in the same universe as Reyes. But Rollins does have a World Series ring, and his Phillies, who face the Cardinals in NLDS Game 1 on Saturday, have won five consecutive NL East titles.

"He had a great year,'' Rollins said, "but in free agency, you take the year and the career all into consideration. Then on top of that, you take the things that you don't show on the field, the intangibles -- in the clubhouse, leading the team, is this guy a winning player, what type of team player is he.

"Baseball is not only about numbers. You get paid a lot with numbers, but you get people to fall in love with you and want you around and give you, I guess, a little bit more money when you can do all the other things along with put up good numbers.''

Even when Rollins praised Reyes, suggesting that the shortstop had been more of a selfish player before this season, it was sort of a backhanded compliment.

Rollins has always enjoyed being an instigator in the Phillies-Mets rivalry -- he tossed the first "Team to Beat'' grenade -- so he's been an acute observer of his New York pals, Reyes included.

"I don't think it was ever a question of how talented is Jose Reyes,'' Rollins said. "But [this season] he did everything that he needed to do, and when you see that coming from another player, you see them putting the team first -- it's not about me -- I got to push the issue for the team.

"In previous years, you just didn't quite get that feeling from him being in the other dugout. This year, you really did. It was like this man is doing everything he can. If they would have had maybe one or two other guys just to have some solid years behind that, how much better a team would they have been this year?''

As for Rollins' own free agency, he was asked if he would ever consider playing in New York. After all, the Mets could have a vacancy at shortstop.

"That would be a tough call,'' Rollins said, smiling again. "That would be a tough call.''

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