The happiness was clear in Jimmy Rollins voice.
Man that position! he said over the phone.
That position is Phillies shortstop. Rollins will man it for another three years, and probably four, after agreeing to a contract extension with the club on Saturday afternoon.
Operation Show Must Go On as it was dubbed by Rollins, ended with the 33-year-old getting a three-year deal that will pay him 33 million. The deal includes what one person close to the situation called an easy vesting option for a fourth year. The option is worth 11 million and is likely based on plate appearances in 2013 andor 2014.
Rollins said he was very happy with the deal. He denied rumblings that he was upset with the Phillies offer.
Not true, he said. Im very happy with this. I have a chance to continue my legacy in Philadelphia and win at least two more championships before the deal expires.
Rollins began his first foray into free agency by proclaiming that he was seeking a five-year contract. The Phillies were never going to go that high. They preferred a three-year deal and eventually added the option.
Rollins conceded that he was reaching for the stars with his desire for a five-year deal. He said that he considered a four-year deal more realistic.
Its a negotiation, he said. You cant start off low and work up. You have to start off high. Would I have loved to have gotten five years? No doubt. But from the beginning, I felt if I could get a four-year deal it would be great. This isnt a four-year deal, but its damn near in my eyes. The vesting option is very attainable. In my eyes, this is a four-year deal which is a great number.
Rollins said he could have gotten a four-year deal in Milwaukee, but that couldnt top his desire to stay in Philadelphia, where he has been a fixture at shortstop and the top of the batting order for 11 seasons. Rollins would not comment on the amount of money that Milwaukee offered.
If it was purely about guaranteed money and guaranteed years, Id be wearing blue and gold in Milwaukee, he said. There is a lure about Philly. Ive been part of the foundation here. The fans have seen me grow up since I was 21. Do you leave that for money or do you stay home? This is where I want to be.
Negotiations with Milwaukee ended at the winter meetings last week and Rollins agent, Dan Lozano, focused on getting a deal done with the Phillies. No other team entered the bidding after the winter meetings and negotiations took a positive turn Thursday before being finalized on Saturday.
Rollins, the 2007 NL MVP, finished a six-year deal in 2011 that paid him 48 million.
E-mail Jim Salisbury at email@example.com.