Coming into the off-season, the Phillies had a few priorities. At the top of their list were a closer, some support for their bench, and last, but certainly not least, figure who would be starting at shortstop when the season started. One by one, Ruben Amaro Jr. played Santa Claus (or Hannukah Harry based on what you believe) for the team, filling all of the team’s needs except for re-signing Jimmy Rollins or signing a free agent to fill his place. But now, 63 just days before pitchers and catchers report for spring training, the Phillies have earned their biggest gift of the holiday season, re-signing former MVP, and clubhouse leader Jimmy Rollins to a three-year $33 million deal with a vesting option for a fourth year.
Rollins’ deal, first reported by ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, is guaranteed for three years and $33 million, with a vesting option (basically once Rollins meets a certain requirement the option automatically kicks in) for a fourth year at $11 million. The vest has been reported as easy, so while it’s not exactly the five years that he was looking for, it’s pretty close.
The deal could not possibly have worked out better for either side; the Phillies get a clubhouse leader and the best shortstop left on the free agent market, and the 33 year-old Rollins gets at least three years of playing for a World Series contender at a very good salary.
The Phillies were running out of options after Jose Reyes moved within the division to the Marlins, and Rollins not only seemed like the best option, but the only option. The Phillies likely couldn’t look within the club, as their next in line was Wilson Valdez, not a viable long-term option. The Phillies knew that they would have to slightly overpay for Rollins, since he outperformed his previous contract. However, given the need, and situation that the Phillies were in, they are very lucky to get this type of contract worked out.
So now, with all of their positions filled the Phillies have no real needs for the rest of the off-season. If anything, expect the team to try to work out an extension with Cole Hamels, whose contract is set to expire after the 2012 season. But if that doesn’t happen, don’t expect much from now until March.