With the MLB Winter Meetings underway, the free agent market could be starting to take shape for the Phillies.
They have already added closer Jonathan Papelbon and strong bench players Laynce Nix, Ty Wigginton and Jim Thome.
But their biggest question mark has always been whether or not they will bring back Jimmy Rollins.
Yesterday Ruben Amaro Jr. met with Rollins’ agent Dan Lozano and the meeting reportedly didn’t go well. Rollins still maintains his position of wanting five years.
Talks between Rollins and the Phillies haven’t went well so far.
The way it looks, this is going to take a while. Rollins doesn’t have many suitors but he could want the Albert Pujols situation to be settled as the St. Louis Cardinals could be a potential landing spot if they don’t lock up Pujols.
It’s also pretty apparent that the Phillies don’t want to go any more than four years with J-Roll.
Rollins has been in decline over the past few years. But he is still one of the best defenders in baseball and still has some pop in his bat.
Another factor that plays in the Phillies’ favor is the fact that they’re basically bidding against themselves for Rollins. There are not many teams that are interested or are in need of a shortstop.
However there is another factor that needs to be considered in the negotiations.
The Phillies are very interested in former Cubs third-baseman Aramis Ramirez.
They obviously can’t afford to land Ramirez and bring back their shortstop. It comes down to what position they want to be stronger at.
Amaro could find a trading partner for Placido Polanco then ink Ramirez to a deal that could be somewhat pricey. Then that would mean prospect Freddy Galvis or a Rafael Furcal-type could be the Phillies starting shortstop in 2012.
If the Phillies could, they should try to land Ramirez. Sure he’s not a young player but neither is Rollins. Ramirez also would bring a big boost to the lineup and best of all, he’s a right-handed bat.
Ramirez is a career .284 hitter and has hit 25 or more home runs in four of the last five seasons with the Cubs. Last season, Ramirez knocked out 26 and drove in 96 runs.
Another reason Ramirez is an attractive option is that he doesn’t strike out very often. He has only tallied over 100 strikeouts once which came in 2001 with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Picking Ramirez over Rollins is also a better option when you look at the line up. Ryan Howard will be sidelined for a substantial chunk of the season.
Right now, who would be the cleanup hitter? Most likely Hunter Pence and that isn’t the best option for the Phillies.
Plug Ramirez into this lineup and you have a solid lineup minus Howard. Chase Utley, Ramirez, and Pence can be the three-four-five hitters.
Granted, the Phillies will be losing some defense with Ramirez. He doesn’t have as strong of a glove as Rollins or Polanco. But as of right now, offense has plagued the Phillies since 2010.
It’s unclear whether the Phillies will actually make an offer. As many experts have speculated, this could just be a ploy to get Rollins to sign for less money and return to Philadelphia.
Who knows what’s going to happen. Ruben has shown before that he can pull off the impossible. The next week will be very telling of where this ball club is headed.