There is much to discuss from two press conferences today eulogizing the 2011 Phillies, but it will begin and end with Jimmy Rollins, who appears to be the linchpin on an entire winter.
Rollins, a Phillie for the last 15 years of his life, has set the bar high for his impending free agency. The soon-to-be 33-year-old shortstop wants a five-year contract.
"I'm looking to get five years," Rollins said. "If it's going to be shorter, there would have to be a fifth-year option or something like that. My option."
Ruben Amaro Jr. declined to talk specifics of a possible Rollins deal.
"I think you guys know our policy," Amaro said. "We're not going to have a discussion about our negotiations with Jimmy publicly. I think Jimmy knows exactly where we stand, whether we want him back or not. There's no question we want Jimmy back and be in our uniform and play shortstop for us for the next several years. Whether that happens kind of depends on if we get to the finish line on it. But Jimmy knows where we stand. Those things will be private."
Other quick hits:
-- Amaro does not have a timetable for Ryan Howard's recovery, but does not believe the first baseman will miss more than half of the 2012 season after Achilles surgery. He did admit that Howard's recovery could spill over into the regular season, but the team will not know for sure until after the surgery.
Howard is seeking two more opinions before surgery, but Amaro said all parties are aware of the immediacy required.
He said the injury will not affect his offseason plans.
-- Amaro said he will sign a veteran closer regardless if it's Ryan Madson or not. He is not comfortable filling it internally with a young pitcher. The team's preference is to re-sign Madson, but he could command top dollar on the market. It's a market flush with closers. Other free agents include Jonathan Papelbon, Heath Bell, Matt Capps, Francisco Rodriguez and Joe Nathan.
-- The GM called left field an "open competition" and then effectively annointed John Mayberry Jr. as the starter. He said he could see Mayberry with the majority of at-bats.
"We have a pretty darn good candidate in John Mayberry," Amaro said. "I think John will have a chance to get the bulk of those at-bats. We haven't made decisions on that."
He also said that Domonic Brown needs more seasoning.
"I think he's a guy who has some work to do in left field," Amaro said. "He has some things to work on as far as his hitting goes. We're going to keep our minds open. ... If I had my druthers, I would keep him at triple A and have him get 500 to 600 at-bats there and go from there."
-- Placido Polanco had double sports hernia surgery Tuesday. Amaro endorsed him as the third baseman -- in fact, he said the team needs more hitters with the approach that Polanco has.
Hunter Pence also had hernia surgery.
-- Amaro stressed the need for his offense to change its approach at the plate. He doesn't see adding another major acquisition to help the offense. The onus, he said, is on the current roster.
"The guys that are under contract right now," Amaro said, "if they don't make that adjustment, then we're going to have trouble."
-- Amaro said he has yet to speak to Roy Oswalt's agent. The pitcher has a $16 million option for 2012.
Because of the sheer amount of free agents, Amaro admitted there will be some turnover. But he did not endorse sweeping changes. More tinkering than anything.
"We'll have some changes," Amaro said.
Much, much more to come.
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