Rollins, Phils agree on 3-year deal

PHILADELPHIA - December 17, 2011

Three people familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press that Rollins has agreed to a 3-year, $33 million contract with Philadelphia. The deal includes a vesting option for a fourth year.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity Saturday because the agreement is pending a physical.

"Gotta deal with me for 3 (4) more years!" Rollins wrote on Twitter. He also thanked former Philadelphia Eagles safety Brian Dawkins, who tweeted congratulations to Rollins and the Phillies.

Rollins is a three-time All-Star shortstop and the 2007 NL MVP. He has spent his entire career with the Phillies after being selected in the second round of the 1996 amateur draft, and was a free agent for the first time.

Rollins, who turned 33 last month, sought at least a five-year deal. The Phillies didn't want to go that long, and were able to reach an agreement after the market for Rollins lessened.

From the start, Rollins said he wanted to stay in Philadelphia. He has been the heart and soul of a team that has won five consecutive NL East titles and the 2008 World Series. Rollins is undeniably the team leader, a charismatic personality who brings a special confidence to the clubhouse.

Rollins was the guy who boldly proclaimed the Phillies were the team to beat in the division before the 2007 season, even though Philadelphia hadn't won anything in 14 years. He backed that up by having an MVP year, and leading the Phillies to their first postseason appearance since 1993.

Rollins hasn't come close to matching the numbers he put up in 2007 - .296 average, 30 homers, 94 RBIs, 20 triples, 41 steals. But he remains one of the best defensive players at his position, and is still an offensive threat atop the lineup.

He hit .268 with 16 homers, 63 RBIs and 30 steals this year. He has been plagued by leg injuries in three of the last four years, and played in a career-low 88 games in 2010. He started 135 this year.

Re-signing Rollins had been a top priority for the Phillies. Their biggest move of the offseason was giving former Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon a $50 million, four-year contract.

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