October 11, 2011
If your first offer doesn't get laughed at, you're doing something wrong.
That's my first rule of deal-making and it's a lesson that I learned from my father as we were being escorted out of a dealership while looking for my first car.
Considering that, I can't snicker at the contract baseline that Jimmy Rollins(notes) laid down on Tuesday in advance of his impending free agency. Despite turning 33 this November, Rollins wants a five-year deal from the Philadelphia Phillies or whoever's crazy enough to give it to him (cough - Brian Sabean - cough). Rollins' role is not to act reasonable at the outset of the process.
"Five would be great. Five would be the number,'' Rollins [told SI's Jon Heyman last month]. "I don't think I want six or seven. You start thinking about 39 (years old). Do I want to play at 39?''
But all it takes is one (cough - Brian Sabean - cough), which is why Rollins is throwing that figure out there. Is it more likely that he'll be offered a three-year deal in the $40-45 million range by some team and end up being forced to take that? If baseball's front offices act reasonably and prudently — an assumption that's no guarantee with Brian Sabean around — you'd have to think so.
You also can't blame a guy for trying, though.