After 12 seasons in Philadelphia, it’s hard to imagine shortstop Jimmy Rollins wearing anything other than a bright white “P” on his ballcap.
And while the Phillies remain the favorites to retain the services of their free agent shortstop, the big moves made over the last 24 hours could inject new suitors into the mix.
When Pujols turned down a reported $220 million offer from St. Louis, he left the Cardinals with a heap of money to invest elsewhere — which could lead them to Rollins.
The Phillies left the winter meetings in Dallas on Thursday without re-signing Rollins, but remain focused on retaining their three-time All-Star.
“Nothing is scheduled (with Rollins’ agent), but I’m sure we’ll be in touch with each other sometime soon,” Phillies GM Ruben Amaro told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I’m concered about filling that spot, but overall I’m not concerned.”
To further complicate things, Rollins is represented by the same agent as Pujols, Dan Lozano, who has spent quite a bit of time negotiating with Cardinals front office personnel in Dallas and could be in a position to provide them with a nice consolation prize.
As CSN.Philly.com’s Jim Salisbury writes, sources close to Lozano have previously hinted at the possibility of St. Louis pursing the 33-year-old Rollins, who could replace free agent Rafael Furcal and give the the team a boost in the batter’s box. Of course, the Cardinals could also go after slugger Prince Fielder, who would fill the void at first base left by Pujols.
After an injury-plagued 2010, Rollins hit .268 in 2011 with 16 home runs, 63 RBI and 30 stolen bases.
The Phillies — who last month added free agent closer Jonathan Papelbon for $50 million — are no doubt feeling the pressure to bring back a key cog in their lineup after watching the Miami Marlins add shortstop Jose Reyes, closer Heath Bell and starting pitcher Mark Buehrle.
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