Although it isn’t the five year deal Jimmy Rollins was hoping for, I’m sure the shortstop is just happy to return to the team for another three years of service. The deal will pay the veteran $33-million over three years with an easily attainable option for a fourth. (The option has been estimated to be $11-million.)
J-Roll was clouding over every splash Amero Jr. made in the free agent market this winter. First he signed Jonathen Papelbon which was huge for the pen and he followed that up with the signings of Lance Nix and Ty Wigginton. With every made and every offer dished out, the bigger and more important issue became bringing Jimmy back home.
The lifelong Phillie has been the leader of this team since his MVP season in 2007 and despite all signs pointing to his career on the back burners; Rollins stepped up in a big way this past postseason. He batted .450 during this Fall’s series with the Cardinals and with an OPS over 1.1 Philadelphia can’t blame him for their lack of success.
The Brewers were the only other competitor for the 33-year-old, but after Rollin’s agent, Dan Lozano canceled a meeting with Milwaukee earlier this week it became apparent that Philadelphia would be his only destination. The former sound rounder was offered his desired five-year deal from the ill-fated Brewers, who just lost Ryan Braun to a performance enhancing drug suspension and Prince Fielder to free-agency, but decided to come back to city he knows best.
The deal seems fair for both parties involved, Rollins didn’t get his five year deal but as long as he stays healthy and keeps his OBP above .300, he will very swiftly be picked up for that fourth season. With Rollins under contract until 2015, his option not only depends on his personal progression, but that of Phillies’ minor league player of the year, shortstop Freddy Galvis.
Although Galvis has proved he has all the potential to be a fundamentally sound shortstop in this league, he hasn’t established himself yet and Amaro Jr liked his chances this season with a former MVP holding down the middle of the infield rather than an unproven rook.
The California native is just another piece of the puzzle for a team who are setting their aspirations no lower than a World Series championship.
Are these aspirations attainable? Sure.
Are they realistic? That’s a whole different question.
The Phillies haven’t lost any big parts to their offense or pitching staff this offseason. With a team who set their sights so high last year, they might as well be expecting the same results. The Big Three atop their rotation are going to pitch great and Papelbon will get a handful of saves, but I don’t think Charlie Manuel’s lineup will be bringing enough to the table for a World Series title.
In a division that the Marlins immediately made a lot more difficult, the Phillies didn’t sign the “big name” like they have in the past. Rollins resigning was a huge morale booster to the club, but without the addition of a big bat this offseason, their biggest problem last fall, expect the Phils to make the playoffs but not nearly as far as fans are hoping for. Another NLDS elimination may be lurking around the corner for this unchanged Philly team.