Rollins Is A Happy Man

I talked on the phone a few minutes ago with Jimmy Rollins. Here is what he said about his three-year, $33 million contract with the Phillies, a lengthy negotiation process and more:

QUESTION: Are you happy this is finally over?
ROLLINS: Yes, I’m glad that it’s over. It’s good that it’s over for both parties. It’s an issue that’s been going on. Negotiations take time and both parties usually get a good idea where a finish line can be. It usually takes time to get there, but we got there.

QUESTION: Are you happy with the deal? You had asked for five years, and I also had heard you were unhappy with the pace of the negotiations.
ROLLINS: I never said that or even hinted toward that in any way. No, it’s not true. I wasn’t upset at the pace. I was glad it took a while because both sides were showing that they care. This is a business. There is a sports side of it and a business side of it, and the business side of it is always the most difficult part. Making sure that the numbers fit and the years fit and that both parties can be happy going forward is how business is. This is where we both sit and both parties feel comfortable going forward.

QUESTION: Do you feel you met the Phillies half way? You wanted five. They wanted three. But it sounds like the vesting option for the fourth year is easily attainable.
ROLLINS: That’s very accurate. The tough part is you’ve got to stick to your guns and they’ve got to stick to their guns. You negotiate. If I hadn’t started so high then we probably would have been looking at a two-year deal with a vesting option for three. People that understand business, they get it.

QUESTION: As long as you’re healthy you feel you will get that option?
ROLLINS: Exactly.

QUESTION: Did you ever think during this process you wouldn’t be back?
ROLLINS: I never really thought of it in that sense. I thought about what it would be like to play here or play there, but never like, “I don’t think it’s going to get done.” There was never a stop sign like, “We’re not going any further, so think about it,” and then talks reconvened and feelings changed. It was never that situation. I imagined being on the West Coast with my family, my mom and dad coming to every game. That would have been fun, but it never got to the point where it was like, “This might be a reality.”

QUESTION: You had a four-year offer from the Brewers?
ROLLINS: It was on the table. They sent over a four-year deal. It was a guaranteed four years. It wasn’t a vesting option to get to four years. It was four years. It’s tough to go to a new team not knowing what the future is going to be over there. I’ve been here for a long time and I see what’s been going on here, especially the last five years. You go to something uncertain, or you stay somewhere that you’re familiar with and you know the situation and what the organization is about. Is the money tempting? Always. You always look at it like, “Oooh.” But then after that the reality kicks in as far as what is really going on with winning and moving and all that other stuff.

QUESTION: You’ve seen teammates leave the organization for other teams without success. Did that cross your mind during this process, like the grass isn’t always greener?
ROLLINS: Not really. I don’t have a problem with change. I love to travel. I love to see different places and learn new things. Change, I’m not afraid of that. We have to think as athletes: I’m going to get money to go there and I’m going to get money to stay here. OK, that’s a wash. Where do I have the best chance of winning and to hopefully one day be on the (Hall of Fame) ballot? For me, it was here. I’ve been here and I just feel the more you’re in the playoffs the more you have a chance to be recognized as a great player in the future and hopefully make the ballot.

QUESTION: Do you feel if you stay healthy you can reach 3,000 hits?
ROLLINS: I’ve got to get back on that. 2010 crushed me. I should already be at 2,000 right now. Oh well.

QUESTION: What do you think about the offseason moves the Phillies have made?
ROLLINS: We’ve got Cinco Ocho (Jonathan Papelbon) to close the games out, which is a good. He’s definitely a proven closer, and he’s pitched in a city like Boston, so it’s really no different coming here. It’s something he’s used to. Bringing (Jim) Thome back, we’ve always said we wanted some pop off the bench. No matter what Thome’s numbers are off the bench, when he has a bat in his hands the other team is like, “Don’t make a mistake.” Ty Wigginton, I’ve always admired the way he’s played the game. I hated playing against him. He killed us no matter what uniform he put on. He absolutely killed us. I don’t know if he liked playing in our ballpark or just seeing red, like he’s a bull, but now he’s going to be wearing a whole bunch of red. I like that move. He plays the game hard. From the other side of the field, he does everything he needs to do to win. He’s a Phillie-type ballplayer. I think they’ll love him here. And Laynce Nix, another left-handed bat that can come in and man left field and get plenty of AB’s. He’s a strong hitter. He hits the ball to all parts of the field. And in our ballpark is a benefit. So we’ve solidified a lot of areas I think were kind of question marks. You go into the season feeling better knowing if somebody goes down, especially in the outfield and the infield — Ty probably is going to get a shot to play third and first — somebody can step in and be a Major League ballplayer. Not taking a chance on some guy that you don’t know much about because he doesn’t have much history in the big leagues.

QUESTION: Because of the disappointing end to the season a lot of people think there needed to be bigger changes to the roster, even though you won 102 games. Do you like this team?
ROLLINS: I’m very excited. It’s going to be a little different without the Big Piece (Ryan Howard) in there, but we’ve added some guys that play the game right. It’s more about playing the game right and not relying on the home run. For years we played the game right and were getting the home runs. Last year we didn’t get a lot of home runs, but we had great pitching. There’s no doubt about that, but you still have to score runs to win ballgames. Between the pitching and playing the game right we scored enough runs to win. You don’t just get wins by having great pitching. Of course, I’m going to stand up for the offense. But if I have to choose a great offense or a great pitching staff, I’m going with a great pitching staff. That’s what we have.

QUESTION: So now that this is finished are you going anywhere? Vacation?
ROLLINS: I already have a trip scheduled to Africa. I’m going to participate in Right to Play’s Pearl of Africa Series over in Uganda. That’s involving the Ugandan Little League team that was denied visas to come over after they qualified to play in the Little League World Series. … I’m going to go over there, put on clinics, help build some batting cages and things of that nature, just see the kids and watch the series. Then I’ll be back in January and head back down to Tampa.

QUESTION: So you’re going to be in Uganda for how many days?
ROLLINS: Twelve. Yeah, it’s going to be awesome. They love baseball over there. I didn’t know, but these kids can play. Obviously, Africa is a soccer continent and they play cricket and all those European sports, but these kids are like … wow. It’s like they grew up with baseball. They understand the game. They understand the concept of a team. And these kids are orphans, they’re escaping the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) and child abductions out in Africa. These kids have had a rough life, and they hopefully have a chance to change their life through baseball. It’s an awesome story, man.

53 Comments

I think Jimmy handled this with the professionalism and class that we would have expected. To know that there was a better deal on the table and he came back says everything about what he has here.
It looks as though the questions were trying to bait him into saying something negative about the Phillies or the free agent process. Nice try.

Todd is a reporter for the team, it’s not his job to throw easy questions, those were legit questions about the process, very good interview.

Technically, ToZo is a reporter for MLB. He gets special access to the Phillies because they’re his beat, but he’s not a member of the organization. If he were, I’d expect him to throw out easy questions.

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Fair deal for both sides. Win-win.

Now let’s win!

Glad it’s over for both sides. He is where he is supposed to be.

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that was an awesome interview.

awesome interview

great to have jimmy back on the team, did not want to see this team broken up, and he is a leader. will go down as one of the greatest phils, best insight on jroll i ever read,good stuff.

why didn’t you ask him about Dontrelle?

$11 million a year tends to make people happy.

10% of that a year would make me happy
and I wouldn’t pop up as much (but would strike out a whole lot more)

Yeah, f-i-j, you’d have to actually make contact to pop up.

Glad this is all over and JRoll is back where he belongs. Can’t wait for the season to start. It is definitely going to be exciting. Loved the article.

A major league baseball source has confirmed that former general manager Ed Wade will be rejoining the Phillies’ organization. Though no official announcement is planned, Wade will have an unspecified role in the team’s scouting department.

The Phillies had an opening in their scouting department when highly-regarded scout Jim Fregosi Jr. left the organization to join Kansas City.

It’s great that Jimmy is actively supporting the Pearl of Africa Series, to be held in Uganda in January. These 11-12 year old kids had won the Euro-Asia Little League championships, but were denied entry into the US for the Little League World Series this past summer. They were supposed to play the Canadian team from Langley. So, Ruth Hoffman, with the help of filmmaker Jay Shapiro and the organization Righttoplay, will take the Langley team to Uganda! In addition to playing a few games and clinics, support from Jimmy and other donors will leave a legacy in programs and a baseball field (!) for these kids who live and breathe baseball! Good for Jimmy Rollins … He’s a model ball player and human being! http://righttoplay.akaraisin.com/YouthBaseball for more inro!

Happy Holidays to all. Nice article. Re-signing Jroll was the only move that made sense. Glad everyone was patient and professional. The deal looks decent from all angles. Jimmy, even in full hotdog mode, is a class act. Good to see him signed.

Bills have been sent out by the Commissioner’s office assessing the Luxury Tax with only Boston and New York having to pay. For the Phillies, it was computed on a 2011 payroll of $165 million. What do you know, the same amount reported by Cot’s.

Sorry pherris, but the Phillies payroll in 2011 was $172,976,381.00. That’s a fact. Cot’s doesn’t even Have Hunter Pence’s salary in their 2011 calculation. See attachment for Phillies 2011 salaries..

http://espn.go.com/mlb/team/salaries/_/name/phi/philadelphia-phillies

Please try again with link. What I am getting is a list which includes Papalbon, Nix and other Phillies signings none of whom where under contract for the time we are discussing.

Here’s another link that shows the 2011 payroll at $167,657,000

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/phillies/A-look-at-the-2011-payroll.html

But, the caveat is given in the article: “Major League Baseball calculates payroll using the average annual value of each contract, while the number we have listed above is the sum of each player’s base salary and bonuses that he will receive this season.”
I didn’t see Nix and Papelbon on phan52′s link.

The salary for Oswalt on this list is $16 million. From what I can remember about the details and as reported by Cot’s $7 million was paid by the Astros.

muleman, your link is from March of 2011 and also does not include Hunter Pence. If you add on his salary minus the money that Houston picked up, it would be over $170 million. I don’t know what happened to that link that I posted. The content has changed since I posted it. It had the 2011 payroll, and that ain’t it, as it does now have Papelbon, but it doesn’t show guys like Ibanez, Oswalt and Madson.The number on the right column next to the team’s name was the team’s payroll obligations for 2011.

I haven’t heard anything about Oswalt lately, other than he is willing to take a one-year, make good deal. He could be a wild card for a contender. His command was off when he got back last season, but the velocity of his fastball was there.

Why would the Phillies be interested in Oswalt? Plugging in these spent “veterans” seems to have been counter productive over the last several years. The Phillies so called “Four Aces” was a media myth. Despite Oswalt having a losing record, the Phillies managed to win 102 games. There is no indication that the Phillies would have been worse off if they had Kendrick in the starting rotation for the entire year.

I am not saying that the Phillies would be interested. I am saying that he could be a very productive, economical addition to a contending team. I certainly don’t want to see him in Washington or Miami if he is healthy.

Here’s a good link for payroll info – and other stuff…

http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/PHI/2011-roster.shtml

Now that Boston has signed Andrew Bailey. Wonder where that might leave Madson?

I think it leaves Madson wishing that he had someone other than Scott Boras representing him. Sometimes the obvious choice isn’t the best.
Boras can say that he thinks the Phillies didn’t act in good faith, but my gut tells me that Boras screwed it up and Madson is left hanging. Ryan seems like a decent guy, and it’s a shame the he won’t have the opportunity to be a part of this ballclub. As it is, he’ll be left to sign a 1-year deal somewhere for less money than he could have had to be our closer for 3 years.

The Angels would make sense for Madson. He’s from the area and they could use a closer.

It’s good to have Jimmy locked up for a while. I’m sure the pitchinf staff is thrilled to have him at SS when they are on the mound. Let’s hope this team can be rejuvenated with the extra offseason rest and be ready to play 7 months next year.

Muleman: I agree. However, I still question the Papelbon signing. I know he’s one of the best closers, has playoff experience etc. etc. I wonder if the Phils thought Madson doesn’t have the stuff to be a dominate closer and that’s why they let him go. I know it would seem like a demotion to Madson, but it would be nice if he could sign a 1 yr deal with the Phils to return to the 8th inning as their set-up man. He was awfully good in that role also.

karen, that is what I think. For some reason, the Phillies didn’t have faith in Madson as a closer. Boras screwed up, but it was never about the money. Look how long it took the Phillies to give Madson a shot at the job. It was almost like he was a last resort.
The Phillies offered Madson arbitration AFTER they signed Papelbon, so they apparently are willing to take him in a one-year deal to be a very expensive setup man. They would have the best bullpen in MLB if that happened.

phan: I think you’re right about their faith in Madson. They were spooked a couple of years ago when he was thrust into the role. I’m thinking that is the same opinion that a lot of teams have about him, or else he’d be signed by now. That, combined with the Boras Factor – and it’s nearly New Year’s Day and he has no idea of where he’ll be pitching.
Apparently, next year’s closer free agent market is pretty thin, so Ryan would probably be better off at this point signing a 1-year deal and taking his chances.
I think, many times, players get bad advice.

karen: I wasn’t as upset about Papelbon as I was about the length of the contract. It’s just too long for a guy with one pitch. Look what happened with Lidge. It’s a rare closer (like Mariano) who can survive and be effective for that length of time.
I’ve said before on this site that I think Nathan or Bell would have been a better deal. They were shorter contracts for guys who were just as effective, surgery notwithstanding.
The Phils are saddled with a lot of long-term deals. It remains to be seen what the Cliff Lee deal is going to look like in 2 years. He was last seen throwing batting practice to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Muleman, don’t forget Lee was in WS the two previous years , which means he threw a ton of postseason pitches on top of his huge regular season workload. Horse or not, he must’ve been spent to pitch the way he did at the end of the past two postseasons..

I just thought it a bit curious considering one their own farm system guys (Madson) was available to sign. IMO I didn’t think Madson did such a bad job last year. I guess a one year contract will give teams another chance to see his stuff and see if he remains dominate. He does have some nasty out pitches. It will be interesting to see where he lands.

Also interesting that no one has snagged Oswalt. You would think he wouldn’t still be available this late. (Along with Fielder)

Rumor has it that the Phils were looking at David Wright. Would be expensive especially since they probably couldn’t get rid of Polanco’s contract.

As for Madson, he should have taken the Phils’ offer when it was on the table. His greed made him wait for a better deal, which won’t come now. I think the Papelbon deal was the best move for the Phils. You can argue about the length of the deal, but Papelbon has been very consistantly good since he became the regular closer for the Redsox. Having shown his success in the AL East makes me more confident that he will be able to handle the NL East bats without much difficulty. Madson was horrible last year when they tried to use him as a closer. This year he was very good for 4 and a half months, but he still hasn’t closed for an entire season yet. We have two samples: 2010 and 2011. Whose going to give him a better deal than the Phils offered?…. No one. He’ll be signing a one-year deal to close somewhere and then he’ll try again next year.

ErichH1: Stop making excuses. Lee got beat up in the WS with Texas too. He was 0-2 with a 6.94 ERA (14 hits in 11 innings) in 2010. What’s your excuse for that?
As for Papelbon, it’s 5 years. That’s a huge risk for a closer with one pitch. If they’re paying him the last 2 years of that deal without him being available or effective, it’ll stifle their ability to sign someone else.

If Cliff Lee says he was worn out, it wopuld be “making excuses”. I’m just making a guess based on a theory I have: the Phils have been worn out the past two postseasons because of the combined extra games they had played in previous postseasons. I think my theory explains what happened. But since you are such a genius please explain to us ignorant phans why Lee fell apart at the end of the past two postseasons after having one of the greatest starts to postseason-pitching in MLB history…..

I don’t know. Since you’re such a genius, why don’t you explain it? I’m just stating facts.

muleman, Papelbon is not a one trick pony with only one pitch. Obviously, his best pitch is his heater but he has a splitfinger fastball and a slider as well. He is an elite closer who has been pitching primarily in the AL East against some pretty good lineups. I don’t know why you doubt his ability to succeed in the NL. Plus, he hasn’t been getting burned out like the kid in Atlanta (Kimbrel) will end up because he had to pitch in a far smaller percentage of his team’s games, similar to what he will have to do in Philly. I’m happy to have him and I believe he’ll still be succeeding four years from now because he has elite stuff.

Well-posted, phan52. I don’t think it change muleman’s mind, but you perfectly stated why he should be upbeat about Pap closing for the Phils.

Phan, I agree with what you posted. There is no reason to think that a guy who has consistantly closed at a high level for 4-5 years won’t continue to do so. But some people are just pessimists and find a dark edge to the cloud with silver lining……

OK, so you believe he will and I believe he won’t.

Well, you said he has one pitch, which is untrue. He can rely of his fastball against most hitters if need be, but he’s got three solid pitches.

Madson is going to be a good, if not very good closer. The problem seems to have been that Boras opened his big mouth before things were done and RAJ signaled he wasn’t happy by yanking the deal and going with a equally good option. I agree that the contract (both 4 to madson and 5 to Papelbon) are too long. never go above 3 for a RP. As for Lee, he was inconsistant all year. He had two amazine months, but an equal number of lousy months. Our luck he had a lousy month in Oct. We all know that Charlie has a problem in giving his starting 8 rest during the season. Hopefully with a bench better then he’s ever had before he’ll be able to give the guys some rest so they will be at their best for playoffs. More and more the regular season is becoming irrelevent and its all about getting hot in Oct. (look at last 2 WS winners) Oswalt will sign within next few weeks, bet on Wash-who are looking to at least be respectable and generate interest and build a fan base.

Happy New Year to all the phans on the blog.
Still the team to beat. All the way this year!!

I second, Phan52′s sentiment. As I write this, 47 days until pitchers and catchers report. Especially nice to think about on this blustery day.

Yo, Todd! Make make another entry at ZoZone. More meat for the lions.

The Lions are going to bet their butt kicked this weekend.

43 days…

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