Dec 19, 2011, 7:05 PM EDT
Jimmy Rollins has another four years in order to cement his legacy as one of the greatest Phillies of all-time. And that’s coming straight from the man who signed him.
Both Rollins and (bearded) Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. were before the media on Monday evening to answer questions surrounding Jimmy’s new deal and his future with the team.
Over the course of twenty minutes, they fielded and responded to inquiries regarding other offers, other players, other cities and other acceptable spots for the shortstop within the Phillies lineup.
In a somewhat unsurprising move given his outspoken nature, Rollins was plenty candid about turning down offers from other clubs, specifically the Milwaukee Brewers. Referring to them first as “a team out in the Midwest,” he eventually admitted that the Brewers’ deal would have afforded him both an extra year and an increase in pay. Still, Rollins stressed that he didn’t want to feel like just another “rented player,” but valued instead his long-time role as a part of the plan to build something special here in Philly.
Speaking of the extra year, it remains unclear as to whether that other offer from Milwaukee would have meant a fourth or maybe even fifth season for the 11-year veteran. Though his new deal with the Phillies is only guaranteed for three, Jimmy began hinting almost immediately that it was really more like a four-year deal. After multiple references to the exact nature his contract option, Amaro admitted that it is actually of the club, player and vesting variety.
With that as the case, Rollins will have the right to tack on a fourth year at his discretion. In terms of specific vesting details, though none were explicitly stated, Amaro also claimed that every one of the benchmarks needed to trigger the “appropriate mechanisms” are numbers that Jimmy has achieved in nearly every year of his career as a Phillie. While Rollins will ultimately have the right to exercise a one-year extension regardless of those contingencies, the tiered vesting option could allow for him to make more money in the process.
As for where he sees himself now that he’s back with the club, Rollins maintained that he stills views himself at the top of the Phillies’ lineup. After running through a brief bit of club history and name-dropping both Doug Glanville and Marlon Byrd, the oft-criticized lead-off man made it clear that as long as he’s still able to steal bases, he’s still the man for the job.
And finally, so as not to disappoint, Jimmy did grace us with a few of the gems we’ve all come to expect when he’s been granted both free reign and a working microphone.
First, to set your mind at ease, no, he does not begrudge Jose Reyes’ his extravagant new deal with the Miami Marlins. That said, he also refuses to consider the former-Met as $75 million better than he. Next, in addressing past teammates who have gone the opposite route in free agency and taken the larger offer, Rollins also was quite understanding of Jayson Werth’s decision to go to Washington (“I mean, of course they’re not going to beat us, but he can always play well”). And finally, though he seems genuinely in favor of this year’s Winter Classic, citing the die-hard nature of both the Phillies and Flyers fans, he also has a distinct vision for life after outdoor hockey. “When the game is over,” said Rollins, “come dig it up and replace it.”
And there you have it. Jimmy Rollins is officially back with the Philadelphia Phillies, the organization with which—he reminded all who were listening—he’s been a part since the age of 17.
With that in mind, we were prompted to offer up this picture of a very young Young James interacting with the fans in Clearwater circa 2001. Little did we know this kid would become a future WFC. Welcome back, Jimmy.
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