The phone buzzed Friday morning after Pilates class; the voice on the other end was Dodgers executive Andrew Friedman welcoming Jimmy Rollins to his next baseball life. Rollins had told the Phillies he would play for either them or Los Angeles, and here was the call he expected nine days earlier, a call so unimaginable before.
"It just means, really, my time there is up," Rollins said hours later.
He spoke Friday, the day he was officially dealt to Los Angeles for two minor-league pitchers, without a hint of nostalgia. Two straight 73-win seasons sapped the 36-year-old shortstop of that. But Rollins' legacy in Philadelphia is sealed. He, as the face of the franchise, helped author one of the greatest periods in Phillies history. He sometimes clashed with the fans, endured criticism for his occasional ambivalence, and collected more hits than any other Phillies player ever.
It is time for a new challenge.
"The Phillies are going one way," Rollins said, "and now I'm going in a different direction."
The Phillies, as expected, received pitchers Zach Eflin and Tom Windle in return for Rollins. Eflin was tied up in the separate Matt Kemp trade-turned-melodrama between San Diego and Los Angeles that included public leaks of medical information. That deal, finally, was completed late Thursday night.
It paved the way for Rollins' departure.
"It'll be a loss for the organization," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "At the same time, this is important for the organization. It's fairly obvious. We made the very concerted effort to decide that it was time for us to turn the page. . . . It's also the right thing for him. This is about the Philadelphia Phillies. And it's something that I think was important to him, to play on a club that was going to contend."
Rollins wanted to stay in Philadelphia. Then Amaro informed him of the team's direction soon after the season and instructed Rollins to contact him if there was "ever a change of heart." When reports surfaced in November of potential Yankees interest in Rollins, Amaro called his shortstop. He told Rollins the Mets and Padres had inquired, too.
"I was able to read between the lines," Rollins said.
Dan Lozano, Rollins' agent, texted Amaro.
"The only place he would go is Los Angeles," Lozano wrote.
"Dodgers or Angels?" Amaro responded.
And that is how the trade of the longest-tenured athlete in Philadelphia began. Rollins, who grew up an Athletics fan in Alameda, Calif., dreamed of playing on the West Coast. The current Dodgers, to him, resemble the Phillies during their remarkable run. He was not attracted to the idea of succeeding Derek Jeter in New York.
"If I had been 10 years younger, and then, yeah, it'd make perfect sense to me to go there and have a lot of time," Rollins said. "You never would forget about Derek Jeter, but to come in and make a mark, after Derek Jeter, you can only do that if you're there for a significant amount of time."
Rollins said he quizzed Lozano and family members about the possibility of changing uniforms. He plans to play beyond 2015, when he will be a free agent, and knew his time in Philadelphia would not last forever. He referenced quarterback Joe Montana, who left San Francisco late in his career.
"The bulk of his career and all of his accomplishments happened in one uniform and that's pretty much the same with me," Rollins said. "I hope to accomplish a number of more things in whatever uniform I'm wearing. But my career and accomplishments and me becoming who I am all happened in one uniform."
Eflin, 20, and Windle, 22, will provide some much-needed starting depth at double-A Reading. Amaro said Freddy Galvis will have "an opportunity" to start at shortstop, but he did not commit to the 25-year-old Venezuelan.
No one, of course, will replace Rollins' grandeur. Rollins will make $11 million in 2015, the final year of his contract, and the Phillies sent $1 million to the Dodgers as part of the trade.
It is the type of transaction Amaro will attempt to replicate with other veterans such as Marlon Byrd, Jonathan Papelbon, Carlos Ruiz, and Ryan Howard. Those efforts, however, are difficult as teams prioritize other options.
"When we were winners, it was a fantastic place to be," Rollins said. "I wouldn't want to be anywhere else."
The Phillies will not be winners for some time. But few dates on next season's schedule will be as anticipated as Aug. 4, the day Rollins returns to Citizens Bank Park wearing Dodger blue.