Jimmy Rollins Rumors
The Phillies signed Jimmy Rollins to a deal that will keep the shortstop in Philadelphia, though not for as the length he was said to be seeking. The deal will pay Rollins $33MM over the next three years with an $11MM fourth year vesting option based on plate appearances. If the option doesn't vest, it can become a team option at $8MM or a player option at $5MM.
Rollins, a lifelong Phillie, has seen his production tail off since his 30-30 MVP season in 2007, but he rebounded to bat .268/.338/.399 last season with 16 homers and 30 stolen bases. His defense has remained a positive even through his age-32 season, according to UZR.
Rollins, ranked seventh on MLBTR's Top 50 Free Agent list, entered the offseason in search of a five-year contract. The Brewers were among the leading suitors for the 33-year-old's services but officially pulled themselves out of the sweepstakes when they gave a three-year, $36MM deal to third baseman Aramis Ramirez. Even without Ramirez, Milwaukee's signing of Alex Gonzalez was widely interpreted as a signal that they would not pursue J-Roll any further.
The Cardinals were also candidates to land Rollins after Albert Pujols signed with the Angels, but they had little interest in giving Rollins the five-year pact that he was asking for. Instead, St. Louis decided to ink Rafael Furcal to a two-year deal worth roughly $14MM. Ultimately, the market pushed the shortstop and the Phillies back together. At the start of this winter, seven of our eight writers predicted a Phillies for the Icon Sports Group client.
ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter) first reported that the Phillies and Rollins agreed to a three-year deal with a vesting fourth year option. Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com (via Twitter) added that the dela would be worth $33MM over three years while Yahoo's Tim Brown (Twitter link) reported that the fourth year option would be worth $11MM. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweeted that the fourth year option would be easily attainable.
Photo courtesy of Chris Williams/Icon SMI.
- The chances of Jimmy Rollins signing with the Tigers seem incredibly thin, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).
- GM Dave Dombrowski said the Tigers had "minimal" discussions with Aramis Ramirez’s representatives, Chris Iott MLive.com reports. The Tigers did not make the third baseman a formal offer before the Brewers signed him.
- Athletics closer Andrew Bailey admits that he doesn't know where he'll be pitching next year, but the trade candidate sounds prepared for the possibility that he'll be dealt before Opening Day, as Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald writes. Bailey grew up on the East Coast and says he has an understanding of what it would be like to pitch for a team like the Red Sox.
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin says he's moving forward under the assumption that Ryan Braun will be in the lineup next year, Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports. The Brewers are doing "business as normal," though Braun tested positive for a banned substance and faces a possible 50-game suspension.
Eight years ago today, the Braves acquired J.D. Drew and Eli Marrero from the Cardinals in exchange for Ray King, Jason Marquis, and a pitching prospect named Adam Wainwright. Here's the latest from the NL East (all links go to Twitter) ...
- Dan Lozano, agent for Jimmy Rollins, told a source of ESPN's Jayson Stark that he is having dialogue with a team other than the Phillies. The Tigers are believed to have interest, however Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com says they insist they won't pursue the shortstop. People with other teams believe they will though, according to Knobler.
- The Braves non-tendered Brooks Conrad yesterday, and Dave O'Brien of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution heard that the team told him to check out the free agent market. They do have interest in bringing him back on a minor league deal, though.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson told Adam Rubin of ESPN New York that adding starting pitching will be tricky because they need to have the flexibility to move a new starter to the bullpen or even option him to the minors.
- The Mets have interest in bringing Mike Baxter back according to Rubin, though it depends on what the market offers the outfielder. Baxter was non-tendered yesterday.
- Alderson told Andy Martino of The New York Daily News that minority sales of the Mets could be complete next month. The GM answered more financial questions on FOX Business' "After The Bell," today. MLB.com's Anthony DiComo has a transcript.
- MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reports (on Twitter) that Nick Green's minor league contract with the Marlins has been finalized. The infielder has not played in MLB since 2010, but he gets an invite to Spring Training.
The Brewers grabbed headlines on the trade and free agent market yesterday. Here’s more news from Milwaukee...
- Before signing Aramis Ramirez, the Brewers pursued Jimmy Rollins and told agent Dan Lozano that they'd be willing to offer a four-year deal, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. "We can’t and sit and wait like other clubs," GM Doug Melvin told Rosenthal.
- Ramirez will earn just $6MM in 2012, according to Rosenthal. He'll earn $10MM in 2013 and $16MM in 2014 with a $4MM buyout on a mutual option for 2015, Rosenthal reports. The 2014 salary includes $6MM in deferred money.
- Melvin explained to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com that a small market team such as Milwaukee doesn’t generally sign top free agents such as Prince Fielder (Twitter link). "We have to face the reality of the smallest market and the best young player in free agency and how does it work," the GM said.
- The Boras Corporation put together a 73-page binder detailing Fielder's accomplishments and ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick explains how it ended up in the slugger's 'man cave' beside his Sliver Slugger awards. One unnamed GM admits to looking forward to annual books on Boras clients: "I think they're a curiosity," the GM said. "It's kind of like the Sports Illustrated swimsuit calendar," the GM told Crasnick. "You look forward to it coming out each year. But you're not really going to do anything about it."
A handful of odds and ends as Friday night winds down ...
- Joe Frisaro of MLB.com has the breakdown on Heath Bell's and Jose Reyes' respective contracts with the Marlins. Bell's 2015 club option for $9MM will vest if he finishes 55 games in 2014 or 100 games in 2013-14. Reyes will earn a $1MM bonus if he wins a World Series MVP.
- D'Backs GM Kevin Towers told reporters, including Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, that he's looking to fortify his bullpen and perhaps add another starting pitcher (Twitter link).
- The Rockies are looking for a short-term answer at third base so as not to block the path of prospect Nolan Arenado, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro will meet with shortstop Jimmy Rollins' agent, Dan Lozano, on Saturday, tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.
- Brewers shortstop Alex Gonzalez told Spanish-language sports talk radio show Los Cronistas in Venezuela that he had offers from the Giants and the Mets but that he chose to sign with Milwaukee because he wanted to be a starter (Twitter links). Thanks to MLBTR's Nick Collias for the translation.
Derrick Goold and Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch have a round-up of what the Cardinals could be planning now that Albert Pujols has left town...
- The Cardinals "have explored what the market is" for Carlos Beltran. Beltran would see most of his playing time in center field, since Allen Craig is slated to be the everyday right fielder.
- Jimmy Rollins' desire for a five-year contract will probably keep the Cards out of the bidding unless Rollins is willing to accept a shorter-term deal. The team is still talking to Rafael Furcal and would like to bring back Nick Punto as a veteran backup, should the Cardinals decide to look within and give Tyler Greene a shot at the everyday shortstop job.
- The team is looking for a left-handed reliever and have spoken to representatives for Mike Gonzalez and J.C. Romero.
- The planned $110MM payroll for 2012 won't be lowered because Pujols is gone, said GM John Mozeliak.
- In regards to the Jake Westbrook/Kyle Lohse trade rumors, Mozeliak said no deals materialized and one of the starters would be dealt only if the Cards need to "reallocate" some money towards another move.
Here's the latest from the NL East, including several aftershocks from the Albert Pujols signing...
- After missing out on Pujols, it has been speculated that the Marlins could turn their attention to Prince Fielder. FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported yesterday that Miami wasn't interested, and today adds that the Marlins' club policy against no-trade clauses would probably keep them out of the running for Fielder anyway. The Marlins' insistence on avoiding no-trade clauses was a "big reason they lost" Pujols. (All links are to Rosenthal's Twitter account.)
- It seemed as if the Phillies could have been the last suitor left for Jimmy Rollins after the Brewers signed Alex Gonzalez, but with Pujols gone, the Cardinals have money to spend on a Rollins contract, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Gelb's Inquirer colleague Bob Brookover wonders if a Rollins/Cardinals match could be impacted by the fact that Rollins' agent Dan Lozano also represents Pujols.
- When asked if he would sign with the Phillies, Omar Vizquel told Manuel Lira of the Venezuelan newspaper Lider en Deportes (passed on by ESPN's Enrique Rojas) that "We're working on it." Vizquel turns 45 in April and would be playing his 24th Major League season in 2012. Vizquel played under Charlie Manuel when Manuel managed the Indians from 2000-02.
- David Wright may be the only "untouchable" on the Mets roster, writes Mike Puma of the New York Post. The Mets seem willing to listen to offers on everyone, though young, controllable players such as Ike Davis would naturally require a high price.
- What the Mets are paying new bullpen acquistions Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch and Ramon Ramirez isn't out of line with other reliever contracts this winter, notes Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger.
- Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider thinks the Nationals should look at Pujols leaving the Cardinals as incentive to re-sign Ryan Zimmerman to an extension. Zimmerman is under contract in Washington through 2013 and Zuckerman says the club's desire to save money for a Zimmerman extension is a reason the Nats haven't pushed for Fielder this offseason.
The latest on free agent shortstop Jimmy Rollins...
- Phillies sources tell Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com (Twitter link) that there was no meeting with Rollins tonight.
- The Phillies are currently meeting with Lozano and could "get to the finish line" tonight, tweets Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
- While no deal between the Phillies and Rollins has been agreed upon, Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio hears from sources on both sides that it will get done (Twitter link).
- The Brewers expect Rollins to re-sign with the Phillies because their second meeting with agent Dan Lozano was canceled, tweets Haudricourt. According to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. had this to say on the Brewers' expectations: "That's good news, I guess. I don't know why they have that thought process, but I hope it's true."
- The Phillies are not close to re-signing Rollins, tweets Ken Rosenthal.
- The Brewers are hearing that Rollins is staying with the Phillies, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. ESPN's Chris Singleton received an encouraging report from a Phillies person that a deal with Rollins will get done soon.
This would seem to indicate optimism about re-signing Jimmy Rollins, as we heard earlier that the Phillies would be interested in trading Polanco and acquiring Ramirez if they were unable to bring back Rollins. However, Rosenthal says this decision is unrelated to the club's negotiations with their longtime shortstop.
The Angels and Brewers are among the teams still in on Ramirez, tweets Rosenthal.
The latest on free agent shortstop Jimmy Rollins...
- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said he thinks there's a "big chance" Rollins returns to the Phillies, tweets Todd Zolecki of MLB.com.
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel he met with Rollins' agent Dan Lozano at the start of the Winter Meetings, but no proposal was made.
- The Phillies met late into the night with Lozano on Rollins, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. No meeting is expected between the two parties today, but Lozano is a busy man with Albert Pujols and Carlos Beltran as clients.