It’s been a hot topic of conversation and mirrors the Jayson Werth situation of a year ago. Will Jimmy Rollins return to the Phillies next season and into the future? He plainly stated that he wants a five-year contract, but that the Phillies are clearly first on his list of teams to play for. However, he is not limiting himself to just the Phillies and is not afraid to leave.
So, we asked all of our writers to chime in on this subject.
Q: Will Jimmy Rollins be a Phillie in 2012?
Pat Gallen: Can I cop out and say I really don’t know? Last year, Jayson Werth was not coming back and I think most people knew that. But both sides in this negotiation are in their own predicaments. The Phillies need a shortstop and have backed themselves into a corner because there are not many available. Jimmy is saying he wants five years, but has been prone to injury lately and may be pushing too hard for something he can’t get from many teams.
If you’re putting a gun to my head, and I’d rather you not, I’m leaning toward Jimmy coming back. But I give it a 55% chance. A guesstimate on a contract (wherever he goes) would be three years with an option for a fourth year that would be reached by incentives for about $38 million. Just don’t see anyone going five for J-Roll.
Amanda Orr: Yes. I think he will settle for less to stay in Philly. He says he wants 5 years, but that is smart of him. He wants the offers to say five years, but I think if he gets a reasonable offer to stay, he will take it. Plus, I can’t see Amaro not trying to re-sign him. He won’t let him go easily.
The only other teams I can see really trying to get Rollins are Boston and San Francisco. Boston hasn’t really had a big name shortstop in a while, and they would be a team to throw out the money. Being from the West Coast, a contract from San Fran could be tempting for JRoll.
Jon Nisula: No. Ruben Amaro Jr is in a tough spot. He wants to re-sign Rollins, just like most Phillies fans and certainly the Phillies players and coaches do. However, Rollins will most certainly demand fairly big contract over–as he said in his press conference–five years.
That’s where the difficulty comes in. There is no one out there that is as good, or even as young as Rollins, unless Amaro decides goes after Jose Reyes. So if Amaro doesn’t want to commit the money and years–which he shouldn’t–to an aging Rollins, he’s stuck with a sub-par player occupying short stop for the foreseeable future.
That’s why I think Jimmy will play elsewhere in 2012. I don’t think Amaro will make the same mistake as he did with Ryan Howard–awarding a long contract to an aging and declining player. Of course we would miss Jimmy like we missed Brian Dawkins when he signed a contract with the Broncos, but in the end it’s a business. And going by what Rollins said in his press conference, he will demand a contract that Amaro probably doesn’t want to give him.
Nick Staskin: Gun to my head? Yes, I think Jimmy is back. The Phillies are in win-now mode, and aside from Jose Reyes, there aren’t any other options out there. As far as trade goes, the Phillies don’t have a lot of pieces that can bring in a shortstop that can do what Rollins can do.I’d put the likelihood of Jimmy resigning at about 80%. While he is looking for a 5-yr deal, I think a 4/$44 million deal probably gets it done. If the Phils weren’t in win now mentality, this would probably be overpaying for an aging shortstop. However, there just aren’t a lot of answers out there right now.
Michael Baumann: I think so, and I hope so. I say this not just because he’s my favorite Phillies player of all time, but because there’s really nowhere else to go. Freddy Galvis is not (and may never be) ready to play shortstop every day for a contender, and while Wilson Valdez trot out there once or twice a week to spell old legs is a perfectly acceptable state of affairs, I like him a lot more when he’s getting 250 plate appearances a year than when he’s getting 700 plate appearances a year. Besides, Exxon is six months older than Rollins anyway. Here’s a list of free agent shortstops (scroll down a little). Who on that list is at least younger or cheaper than Rollins without suffering a crippling drop in performance? No one.
If J-Roll signed an extension for two or three years, in the neighborhood of $10 million a year, I’d be thrilled, but the issue gets more complicated when he holds out for five (which he’s said he prefers). Someone will give him five years, $50 million if he hits the open market, because two-thirds of the teams in baseball have just as dire a need for a shortstop as the Phillies do. Part of the reason that giving a huge extension to Jayson Werth would have been a mistake, and that a huge extension for Ryan Howard was a mistake is that they’d be paying over-market value for an aging player whose production could, at least in part, be replaced by a cheaper option. There’s no such replacement on the horizon for Rollins, and unless someone like the Giants comes up with an absurd offer (say, 6 years, $75 million), the Phillies would be wise to bite the bullet and re-sign Rollins. Odds of J-Roll’s return: 70 percent.
Corey Seidman: Yes. I’d put it at 75%. I see the process working out like this: Phillies offer Rollins a high-priced three-year deal which he turns down, Giants eventually up the ante and offer him four with a fifth-year option, Phillies cave and give him the same offer, and with equal offers Jimmy decides to stay put.