Last off-season, the Phillies exercised their $8.5 million club option on Jimmy Rollins for the 2011 season. They did it on good faith, knowing they wanted their shortstop and one of the faces of the franchise back for another season even a year in advance.
There will be no such assurances this time around.
When asked if the team will begin negotiating on a possible contract extension for Rollins before next season, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. made it clear that's not in his plans.
"I think we'll probably let things, at this time, play out," Amaro said.
Meaning the Phillies are concerned enough about Rollins' production in the last few seasons to question whether he will be the starting shortstop in 2012. Rollins, who turns 32 at the end of November, will almost certainly go into 2011 playing for a contract.
It was a lost season for Rollins in 2010. He played in just 88 games while batting injuries to his right calf and hamstring. He posted career lows (over a full season) in just about every counting number, plus batting average (.243) and slugging percentage (.374).
"There's some concern about his production the last couple of years," Amaro said. "He's a much better player than he's played. We just have to make sure he's healthy."
And part of that will rely on Rollins improving his off-season training program. Last off-season, Rollins was married to his longtime girlfriend, Johari. This off-season, he could be devoting more time to ensuring his body is in better condition before spring training begins.
Contract for Charlie
One contract the Phillies plan on negotiating and completing before spring training is that of Charlie Manuel's. The manager's current deal expires at the end of the 2011 season, and Amaro suggested an extension was probable this off-season.
Amaro also said all of Manuel's coaches had been invited back. Near the end of the season, first-base coach Davey Lopes said he was undecided whether he would return.
Prospect moving to left
Once Domonic Brown graduates full time to the majors, the Phillies' top position player prospect is 19-year-old Jonathan Singleton. Next season, Singleton will be playing a new position: left field.
Singleton stormed onto the scene as an 18-year-old first baseman at single-A Lakewood in 2010. The eighth-round draft pick hit .290 with 14 home runs and 77 RBIs in 2009.
But with Ryan Howard blocking a path to first base in the majors for the foreseeable future, Phillies officials moved Singleton to the outfield during Fall Instructional League a few weeks ago. Singleton will begin a level higher at single-A Clearwater as the starting leftfielder.
"He's a good enough athlete," Phillies assistant general manager Chuck LaMar said. "You look at him, and because of his size, you think first baseman. But he has good athleticism. He's played the outfield in the past. That was a real help. He wants to do it.
"It's a good move for him. It's a good move for us."
Close call in jet
The chartered jet that brought the Phils back from San Francisco on Friday morning had a close call while attempting to land at Philadelphia International Airport, CBS3 reported. According to Eyewitness News, the Delta 747 was seconds away from landing when an air traffic controller told another plane to move onto the runway for takeoff. The Phillies' jet had to abort its landing. A team spokesman confirmed the report.
Victoria Lupica, Philadelphia airport spokeswoman, said there was no operational error on the part of the controller.
Placido Polanco's surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow was not immediately scheduled, Amaro said, but it should occur shortly. Polanco played much of the season with loose bodies in the elbow and received four cortisone shots to relieve pain and inflammation. . . . Alexander Buck, one of the Phillies' limited ownership partners, died Sunday, Amaro said. "It's a tough loss," he said. "He's a very special man. He will be missed."