DALLAS - The Phillies came to Texas with the stated goal of re-signing their longtime shortstop to a contract on their terms. For much of the winter meetings, they were content to be idle because Jimmy Rollins is their priority and, with an advantage in negotiations, waiting is just fine.
They may leave Thursday without a deal, but all indications were that one will eventually be struck.
The Milwaukee Brewers, the Phillies' top competition for his services, were told not to bother continuing talks with Rollins, a baseball source said.
"That's good news, I guess," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "I haven't heard that yet. I hope it's true."
Paul Kinzer, the agent for Aramis Ramirez, said no talks about the third baseman were happening with the Phillies. Ramirez was the team's top alternative to signing Rollins, who has been the main concern all winter.
An erroneous report surfaced Wednesday evening that Rollins had agreed to terms. That was not the case, a baseball source said. But there was optimism about a pact.
The timetable for a deal is unclear, and Amaro did not meet with Rollins' agent, Dan Lozano, on Wednesday.
"That can change with one text," Amaro said. Lozano was busy trying to finalize a contract for Albert Pujols. Once that deal is done, Lozano can turn his focus to Rollins.
Concessions from Rollins' side likely will be needed to make a deal. Rollins, 33, stated his desire for a five-year deal at the beginning of the winter. Jose Reyes, five years younger, signed a six-year deal this week.
"No different. No change," Amaro said. "Still optimistic and hopeful. The goal remains the same, to bring him back."
Amaro theorized that once the bigger names fall, Rollins will follow as teams gain a better idea of how much money they have to spend and where it will be allocated. Even then, it's difficult to imagine a suitor more appealing than the Phillies.
A baseball source said the current market (or lack thereof) means Rollins will probably sign a three-year deal with an annual average value of $10 million to $12 million per season. The Phillies could include some sort of option for a fourth year.
That source said Rollins was probably worth around $9 million per season to any other club but likened Rollins' situation to that of Derek Jeter's from a year ago. The Yankees signed Jeter to a three-year deal with an option for a fourth year although there was no clear bidding for his services.
Jeter, of course, has spent his entire career with one team. And Rollins could take a giant step shortly toward doing the same with the Phillies.
Extra bases. The Phillies have an open spot on their 40-man roster but were unsure whether they would make a selection in Thursday's Rule 5 draft. History says they will. They were the only team to retain a Rule 5 pick on their roster (David Herndon and Michael Martinez) in two consecutive seasons. A baseball source said the Phillies expect to lose outfielder Jiwan James in the draft. . . . Amaro said most of his time Wednesday was spent reviewing details of the new collective bargaining agreement with other team executives. . . . Team officials will leave Dallas upon the conclusion of Thursday morning's Rule 5 draft.
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