The rest of the Phillies’ offseason hinges on whether they re-sign free-agent shortstop Jimmy Rollins, a negotiation that one rival agent describes as “an epic Roman battle” between two strong-willed men, Rollins and Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.
If the Phillies do not keep Rollins, they intend to play rookie Freddy Galvis at short and lose considerable offense at the position. Their next move — the one for another bat — is where things would get interesting.
The Phillies, according to two reports, are interested in free-agent third baseman Aramis Ramirez, a move that could require them to trade their current third baseman, Placido Polanco.
They are actively trying to move Polanco, according to a rival executive.
The pursuit of Ramirez could be a ploy to get Rollins to come off his desire for a five-year deal. Ramirez, who turns 34 in June, does not fit the Phillies’ desire to get younger — Rollins, 33, is an exception because of his history with the team. Some teams also question Ramirez’s makeup.
The other option, of course, would be for the Phillies to add another bat in their outfield. The team reached agreement with free agent Laynce Nix, a left-handed hitter, on a two-year, $2.5 million contract Sunday. But Nix might simply be a hedge in case Amaro is unable to get another outfielder he wants.
The Phillies, one source said, have cooled on free agent Michael Cuddyer, viewing his best position as right field, where Hunter Pence is under control for two more seasons. Another free agent, Jason Kubel, might be too expensive and require too long a contract. Still another, Carlos Beltran, could be had on a shorter term, but at a higher salary — and he’s 34.
Plenty of other outfielders are available either on the open market or in trade, and Amaro is always aggressive, always full of surprises. Maybe his next move is Ramirez. Maybe it’s an outfielder. Or maybe he’ll just settle his epic Roman battle with Rollins.
— Ken Rosenthal