Jimmy Rollins looks good in red, hopes to remain with Phillies

At this time last year, Jimmy Rollins was asked about Jayson Werth’s possible departure. “Why should I leave,” Rollins said as he turned the subject to himself.

Well, Rollins, much like Werth in October 2010, is preparing for free agency and he answered his own question at a press conference this afternoon.

“Money and years” is what Rollins wants. The Phillies’ shortstop since the 2000 season apparently wants a deal that spans half a decade.

“I’m looking to get five years, if it’s going to be shorter, it would have to be a fifth year option, my option,” Rollins said.

Unlike Werth’s final address to the press, which smacked of a definite goodbye, the impression is that Rollins would like to give the Phillies the opportunity to retain him.

“There’s no doubt they [the Phillies] have first shot to get something done,” Rollins said. “Hopefully we will get something done.”

Perhaps it will get done since the Phillies’ leadoff hitter would prefer to stay and the organization would like to re-sign him.

“There’s no question that we want Jimmy back and be in our uniform and play shortstop for us for the next several years,” GM Ruben Amaro said. “That kind of depends if we get to the finish line on it. But Jimmy knows where we stand on it.”

And we know where Rollins stands. He expressed frustration over the Phillies disappointing finishes to the 2010 and 2011 seasons. He wants to win and believes the core of the Phillies, which emerged in 2007 and won the World Series in 2008, has the talent to win some more rings.

“What we accomplished as a team makes you want to see it through to the end,” Rollins said. “There will be an opportunity for that to happen.”

Rollins, who could have done a better job of posturing, did note that it’s a business and his future is ultimately uncertain. But he believes that he is an elite player, with the skill set that won him the NL MVP award in 2007.

“The skills are what they’ve always been,” Rollins said. “They haven’t gone anywhere. In ‘07 I had an absolutely fantastic season. After that I’ve been pretty much been the same consistent player, barring a couple of injuries.”

Rollins believes it’s likely that he can perform at a high level until he’s nearly 40.

“I probably have a good six years of being able to perform at a high level,” Rollins said.

And Rollins, who was drafted by the Phillies in 1996, admitted that he has never envisioned himself in another uniform.

“Not really,” said Rollins, when asked if he saw himself in other colors. “I look good in red. You go back when I got drafted. I didn’t know much about the Phillies, other than Mike Schmidt and that Veterans Stadium was a horrible-looking place. When I put that hat on, when I got drafted, and I held that bat and put that Phillies T-shirt on, it looked really good on me. I think I’ve worn it pretty well over the years. I never thought about putting on any other colors but the red and white pinstripes.”

If the Phillies and Rollins find common ground, that may be the only uniform J-Roll ever sports.

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