Writer’s Roundtable: Will Rollins Return?

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, October 14, 2011 07:58 AM | Comments: 26
Analysis, News, Opinion, Posts, Writer's Roundtable

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.

Avatar of Pat Gallen

About Pat Gallen

Pat Gallen has written 1710 articles on Phillies Nation.

Pat is Editor-in-Chief of Phillies Nation. He also covers the Phils for 97.5 FM in Philly.

  • Posts: 2002 Brooks

    Avatar of Brooks

    This whole town has a love affair with Jimmy Rollins. No revelation.
    Based on what Rube and Cholly said the Phils need, is Jimmy a viable part of that equation? Sure, he could be – he probably more than others on this team looks to have all the tools needed, switch hitter, speed, great defense, he has shown power and best of all, a grittiness that has helped to lead the Phils and endear himself to this town. Who wouldn’t love to see Jimmy as a part of this supposed new equation.
    I regard this as more a want than a need at this point. If we’re tagging numbers to it, 55% sounds reasonable.

  • Posts: 0 JMills

    I may need therapy if I have to watch JRol not run out ground balls for the next 5 years. Three years or no deal.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    I think it will come down to a 3-year contract with a 4th year option, either PLAYER or VESTING option .. not a “team option” … and I’d do that, but structure the deal so that the first 3 years are worth real money and the 4th is such that he wouldn’t hang around just to make an extra huge payday .. maybe make the last year like $4- 5 M with a $ 1 million buyout .. force Jimmy to decide if he wants to grind through another season just for an extra $3 M

  • Posts: 2886 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Couple of things:

    First, I think Jimmy is posturing right now….as he should be. This is business. At the end of the day I could see a 4 year deal getting it done. If the Phillies have to pay that 4th year guaranteed then I’m ok with that.

    Second, ….and this has been thrown out there before….but I think moving Jimmy to 3rd at some point during this deal might be one of the answers. Especially is Galvis is ready by 2013-2014. Jimmy may say he doesn’t want to do that but, at the end of the day, I think he would consider it towards the end of his career.

    Third, I actually think that Wilson Valdez…with a little MiniMart mixed in….is a fine stopgap for one year if Jimmy goes (if they’re thinking Galvis for ’13). Even at 500 plate appearances. Yes, he’s not Rollins. But he’s far from Eric Bruntlett either.

  • Posts: 0 Jeff Dowder

    He’s been on a steady decline since his MVP season, and it’s really time for RAJ to make this team younger and more athletic. Extending aging and injury prone players would really be the opposite of what the team should be doing, but RAJ seems to love these older guys. A few days ago, he even mentioned that his master plan includes crossing his fingers and hoping that players in their declining years will magically transform from .260 hitters to .300 hitters. I’m sure that will happen!

    • Posts: 1 Bob20Philly

      Avatar of Bob20Philly

      I totally agree with Jeff Dowder. Love what Jimmy Rollins did in 2006 to 2008, but he has declined since 2008. We need to get younger and more athletic. Phillies should look at a 2 yr contract for a middle of the road shortstop (Jack Wilson, Rafael Furcal, Alex Gonzalez) and avoid bringing back Rollins. The Phillies will have some money come off the payroll with Lidge, Ibanez moving on. My bet is that if we go with Rollins and likeyl overpay on a 4 yr deal ; in 1 year we will be stuck with a good defensive shortstop that plays 130 games maybe, demands to bat leadoff, hits .260 or less with less than 25 steals. That is not going to help the team. RAJ – Do the right thing!

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Its a nice thing to want to be “younger and more athletic” …. but who is a “BETTER” shortstop than Jimmy Rollins ???

    Jose Reyes is the only one that even gets considered, but he’s a headcase, more of an injury risk than Rollins, and will cost twice as much …

    If there was a viable option besides bringing Rollins back, i’d be more open to the idea that we don’t resign him .. but reality is that he’s the best fit for this club for at least the next 2-3 seasons ..

    I would consider NOT resigning him only if Aramis Ramirez was signed, and we wanted to sign a cheap SS until Galvis (or someone else was ready) ..

    • Posts: 0 Greendale

      I don’t think looking at the SS position in a vacuum is the way to go about deciding if you need to resign Jimmy Rollins or not, and too many people are doing that.

      You have to start shaping this line up into something with an identity. Maybe you won’t be upgrading at SS, but sign a player who will do the things you want this line up to morph into.

      I think it makes no sense to talk of change of approach, then sign a guy for three or four years who has said prior he won’t change his approach because it works. Everyone complains about the offense, but then they are so quick to want to keep an aging, stale nucleus together.

      Cut the cord on Jimmy, & let’s start putting together a new Phillies lineup that Amaro was talking about.

    • Posts: 1376 Pat Gallen

      Avatar of Pat Gallen

      But you can’t treat it that way because you just don’t know if Galvis will be ready. He looks good, but thats why a 3 year contract makes sense for Rollins from the Phillies standpoint. Galvis at 24 would still be young for a shortstop and he’d likely have 2 years of triple-A experience. Unless the Phillies just wanna up the ante and go 2 years $32 million on Rollins and just give him a shorter term deal at more money. That way if Galvis is ready the Phillies wont be forced to trade one of the two.

      • Posts: 0 Greendale

        I don’t think Galvis is ready at all. I’m not advocating for him. Sign a stop gap.

        Jimmy used to be my favorite player, but the two main problems I have with him are:

        1) Resign him & the offense you saw in the playoffs will be the offense you continue to see. Nothing is gonna change.

        2) I’m waiting for that season when either, because of injury or age, where he falls off a cliff, offensively. I could see it happening any year. I just don’t want to sign a guy to a 3-5 year deal where I can see his steep offensive decline on the horizon. It’s just too risky.

  • Posts: 1376 Pat Gallen

    Avatar of Pat Gallen

    @Greendale It’s easy to say the Phillies should go out and sign a guy at another position that will make up for the loss of Rollins, while inserting a stopgap SS. But who is out there? That’s the predicament the Phillies are in. It’s a weak FA class other than Fielder, Pujols, and Reyes and they’re way out of the Phillies league in terms of price and position.

    The need is obviously at 3B and SS, but is Aramis Ramirez worth it at 34 years old? No. There isn’t a very good young crop of anything this year in free agency so Rollins is unfortunately their best option. And not just because he’s a SS, but because there isn’t anyone out there period.

    Either that, or, you sign a stop gap and hope David Wright or someone like Stephen Drew makes it to FA in 2013.

  • Posts: 0 Psujoe

    If the Phils could sign A. Ramirez that would solve a lot of lineup issues, but isn’t he another head case?

    If you sign Ramirez, Polanco and Valdez become you utility guys. I’d sign a one year deal with J. Carroll whose OBP and plate approach would be great until Galvis is ready.

  • Posts: 1376 Pat Gallen

    Avatar of Pat Gallen

    @psujoe He’s not a headcase, he’s just 34 years old and has a bad back, I think. Plus he’s just no longer a guy that should be making $15 mil for more than 3 years, especially at his age. That’s not a road I want to see the Phillies go down.

    • Posts: 0 Don M

      Pat …. the good news is that teams with money likely aren’t searching for a 3b (Mets, Yanks, RedSox, Giants, Cards…and I doubt the White Sox want him due to age and just getting burned on Adam Dunn)…..and Ramirez has actually been healthy the past two years .

      I believe he has an option (team option) for something like $16 M … which i’d be surprised if the Cubs picked-up …

      We dont know how long he wants to play, or what that value would be… he has power, and doesn’t strikeout a lot .. but isn’t that great defensively. … If he could be had for a 2 -year, $25-30 M deal, with a 3rd-year option … he’s definitely worth looking into. I don’t think the Phillies will overspend to upgrade over Polanco … but if they can get a deal in their favor, it will provide them the ability to rest more players regularly.. and or have Utley at 1st, Polly at 2nd while Howard is out

  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    A couple things about Jimmy I still like him but i have a few reservations. He doesnt seem to have the intensity he had a few years ago. He has the tendency to jog on ground outs, doesnt seem like he’ll try and leg anything out anymore. His classic 2 strike pop outs, he is no longer a lead off hitter. That been said from a defensive point he is one of the best still at his position. Secondly, i said this a few times we have a weak offense, we need the best bat available at every position possible. I believe J-Roll can still hit for a solid .260 and have some pop still, i think 15 HR a year isnt a stretch. Our other alternatives, is Valdez which will probably hit around .230 and maybe 5 HR’s a year. Second will be Mini-Mart which will probably hit .210 3 HR’s. Galvis might be ready from a defensive point but i think he might put up Martinez type of numbers with the bat. I also think J-Roll is jousting here i have to believe he knows no one will give him a 5 year contract. He is simply bargaining I believe what he is really looking for is a 3 year deal with his option for a 4th. This might work for us if we bring Galvis around and see what he has then possibly trade Jimmy. You can stash Mini Mart in AAA and call up Galvis and start giving his reps at the MLB. If we sign Jimmy to a 5 year contract it will be foolish in many ways. Besides it been too long it will instantly make him untradable and we will be stuck with him no matter what.

  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    * Side note possibly Valdez will hit .240 he has improved with the bat since his tenure with the Phillies.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Rollins isn’t getting a 5-year deal from anyone … and if anyone offers it to him, the Phillies will let him walk just as they did when teams chose to overpay Aaron Rowand, and Jayson Werth …

    Rollins had 16 HRs this year… but what I said from day one… was that Victorino should have been in the leadoff spot, with Rollins batting 5th behind Ryan Howard …. they didn’t do that because “Jimmy is the leadoff guy” …. well if your GM and Manager aren’t going to force you to change from your spot in the batting order , how much can we fault the player for that?

    Jimmy bats leadoff despite never being a high OPS guy … they plug him there because they like his speed and baserunning – which would be nullified behind Howard or others lower in the lineup ..

    yada, yada, yada … Rollins remaining on this team for the next 3 years is the best course of action regarding one of the most important defensive positions on the diamond. A healthy Placido Polanco would solve a lot of problems, and while i understand that “he’s not getting younger” etc … there is no reason that a 37 year old infielder can’t stay healthy for a season.. I don’t think his age makes him any more vulnerable to the same injury that Hunter Pence suffered, etc . . . .. . . all of this stuff just goes to credit that point that IT”S NOT EASY TO WIN A WORLD SERIES

    there are a whole lot of factors besides just having the most talent on the field!

  • Posts: 0 Jeff Dowder

    Making a long term decision based on a “perceived” position scarcity will only result in yet another bad contract which will ultimately be regretted (and unmovable). The same goes for factoring any kind of sentimentality into this negotiation. Sometimes you just have to thank a guy for past service and move on.

    If RAJ really wants to revamp this lineup (which hopefully he does) he needs to find a thirdbaseman and leftfielder that will actually contribute offensively. If he does that, the team can easily get by with an inexpensive light hitting, good fielding shortstop.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    the SS position is weak this year besides Reyes and Rollins …. not sure how else you’d really like to fill the gap.. Also, the 3b position after Ramirez isn’t that great and i’d say is just as much a gamble to say that Ramirez with health issues, stays healthy if people are worried about Polanco staying healthy ..

    Polanco, when healthy is EXACTLY the type of hitter the Phillies missed and needed this post season

    you don’t win 102 games by accident, and again, i believe that HEALTH is the biggest factor to the Phillies offense not performing this season …

    I know everyone can point out problems, but not many people seem to be offering solutions, or explanations

  • Posts: 0 Jeff Dowder

    Don, older players tend to get hurt more often. Aren’t Polanco, Utley, Rollins, and Ibanez ALWAYS hurt to some extent? Are you really expecting that to change as they age yet another year? A three or four year deal to a 33 year old SS with a history of leg injuries has a much greater chance of being a disaster than it does being a deal that helps the team.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    ugh… we’ll go around in circles on this then, becuase while i completely understand that older players have more of a risk of breaking down, etc . . . . . . if they are the most talented players, then they have the best chance of helping your team

    younger for the sake of being younger isn’t always a good idea

    Michael Martinez will likely be healthier than Jimmy Rollins next year… but likely wouldn’t be as effective …. i want the Phillies to get younger too, but they don’t have anyone to trade right now, and among Free Agents, Rollins is better than anyone you’d be able to bring in

    • Posts: 0 Jeff Dowder

      Since this team is built for the sole purpose of winning 11 games in October, it can be reasonably argued that the Phillies have taken one step backwards each season since 2008, so are these older and “more talented” players really giving the team the best chance to win? This group is 1-3 in it’s last four post season series, and have collectively hit about .230 in the process.

      I really question a 2012 plan based on “hoping” injury prone players don’t get injured and “hoping” declining players return to a skill level that they had four years ago. It seems like the end result will be more of the same (if not worse).

  • Posts: 0 the ghost of luis aguayo

    Rollins situation reminds me of the Hall & Oates song “She’s Gone” (with he inserted for she, of course). Somebody will overpay for him. That being said, that free agent shortstop list, ugh. Same goes for the free agent 2nd and 3rd basemen. Anyone ready for a second round of Greg Dobbs?

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    He is worth this.
    3 years 30 million.
    Maybe 33 or 36 million. Thats debatable.

    Not a penny more. Or a year more.

    If someone else wants to give it to him then its time to say sayonora.

  • Posts: 547 Brian Sr. of CO

    Avatar of Brian Sr. of CO

    I dont know if I would go near 36 Mil. The 3 years 30 Mil should be good, but he wants 5 years. Will he get it? Sure, I think there is a team dumb enough to give him 5 years. I like Rollins. He is a leader on the team and in the clubhouse, but any more than 3 years in insane. I have a feeling he is gone, as I am sure there will be a team somewhere who is insane enough to give him 5 years.

  • Posts: 0 JB

    He’ll probably not succeed in his 5-yr. deal. He should get a decent amount with incentives. I feel it’s better to give the money and years to Madson rather than Rollins. The free agent class looks pretty weak except for Reyes and Rollins which is something to keep an eye out.

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