Jimmy Rollins held a press conference Tuesday at Citizens Bank Park to talk about the 2011 season but more to address his future with the squad. As a free agent, Rollins would like to stay, but won't take a bad deal or a “hometown discount.”
He wants five years or four with an option -- his option (according to Phillies.com beat writer Todd Zolecki). The Phillies, by all reports, don’t want to go beyond three years in a Rollins deal.
It’s a question that Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. didn’t really want to address during the season, but he said Tuesday that “there’s no question we want Jimmy back and in our uniform for the next several years.”
As a fan favorite and a player who has been on the Phillies since way back in 2000, this is more than just a standard contract negotiation. In 12 seasons with the team, Rollins has three All-Star selections, three Gold Glove Awards, a Silver Slugger Award, a MVP selection and a World Series ring.
It may be the biggest and toughest decision to make this offseason for the team.
Maybe you have your own reasons to get rid of Rollins, but here are five reasons why he should be re-signed (the list could be even longer).
- Rollins will only be 33 years old when the 2012 season begins next April in Pittsburgh. That is not old by any means (see: Julio Franco, Jamie Moyer, etc.). Could his best years as a running, hitting All-Star shortstop be behind him? Perhaps, but it’s not like when the Yankees signed a 38-year-old aging Derek Jeter.
- Look at the list of potential free agent shortstops this offseason (not including the apparently available Jose Reyes): Alex Gonzalez, Orlando Cabrera and Edgar Renteria. Rollins, at age 33, is still younger than all of those potential replacements. Want to go younger? Shortstop prospect Freddy Galvis, named the Paul Owens Award winner as the organization’s top offensive minor leaguer for 2011 after batting .278, didn’t hit above .240 before this season and his potential is really unknown. Michael Martinez filled in well this year, but do you want him to play every day?
- When Rollins signed a six-year, $48.5 million contract in 2006, nobody ever thought he’d become an MVP, a team leader and a playoff clutch hitter that he was (remember Game 4 of the 2009 NLCS against LA?). To say he outperformed his last contract is a bit of understatement.
- Playing the anchor position in the infield, Rollins has accumulated a career .984 fielding percentage. That number is third all-time at the shortstop position, for whatever it’s worth. In 2011, his percentage was .988 with only seven errors (for comparison sake, Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro led the NL with 29 errors this year). Is he as good defensively as he once was? Maybe not, but he’s still pretty great.
- The state of shortstop in MLB is not what it was during the steroid era when it comes to power (see Miguel Tejada, A-Rod, etc.). At most the Phillies would be saving a few million for a $5 million dollar shortstop that risks completely changing the culture of the team. Is it worth it?
What do you think, Phillies fans?