The Longtime Leadoff Man Returns: Rollins signs 3-year deal

Posted by Kevin Durso

After spending the first 11 years of his career with the Phillies, Jimmy Rollins will return for three more seasons after agreeing to a deal with the Phillies. (Kevin Durso/Philliedelphia)

It certainly seems long overdue, but finally, the Phillies are bringing back the one player that fans couldn't imagine going anywhere else.

Jimmy Rollins has reportedly agreed to a three-year deal, worth approximately $33 million, with the Phillies with a vesting option for a fourth season. The deal comes just days after another Phillies' target, Michael Cuddyer, signs with the Colorado Rockies, all but ending any backup plans the Phillies may have had for Rollins.

The longtime leadoff man and shortstop for the Fightins has had his ups and downs, but as the vocal leader that marked the beginning of what is now a division dynasty, Rollins has always been the center of this team. He had an instant impact upon his arrival in 2001, making an All-Star Game in his rookie season. He added two more All-Star appearances, and prior to the 2007 season, voiced his thoughts on where the Phillies were going, making his now famous "team to beat" statement.

2007 was an MVP year for Rollins, who led the way on the Phillies first division championship in 14 years. 2008 went even further, and even with Rollins starting to decline in numbers, the Phillies made their first World Series since 1993, and won their second in franchise history. 2009 marked another return to the Fall Classic with some J-Roll magic. His walk-off double in Game 4 of the NLCS against the Dodgers may be his finest moment in a Phillies uniform.

Even with injury troubles of late, the team still needs Rollins, who has grown into a leader and a role player. Could you think of anybody else leading off for the Phillies in 2012? Probably not, so this is not only expected, it's just natural. For the 33 year-old lifetime Phillie, this contract will likely keep him in pinstripes for the rest of his career. With what is being described as an "easy" vest for a fourth season, Rollins will be 37 by the end of the contract.

There was just no way to picture Jimmy Rollins with any other team at the beginning of the offseason, and as the market dwindled and options faded for Rollins, it was evident this would happen sooner or later. Finally, that day has come.

The Phillies have all but finished their offseason shopping, so the only thing left to do is wait for Spring Training to begin. Granted, the Phillies could still surprise, but there is really is nothing else to expect. But, if you haven't started counting down the days yet, it might be a good time to start. The 2012 Phillies' roster is almost complete.

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