"I think Jimmy knows how we feel about him," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said prior to Game 1. "Jimmy may be in a position where he wants to go out there and see. Hey, he's never been in free agency. Maybe he wants to go out there and see what he's worth. That's all part of the process, man, and I don't fault the guy for that."
Rollins has remained tight-lipped about his future. Other than telling Sports Illustrated that he is hoping for a contract in the neighborhood of 5 years, he has spoken only generally about his looming free agency. While such a deal might seem optimistic for a player who will be 33 next season, Rollins remains a strong defensive player and one of the few in the league who is capable of hitting near the top of a major league order.
Last night, he was the driving force behind the 4-0 lead the Phillies seized in the first two innings. He led off the game with a double off the wall in rightfield, then hit a two-out double in the second inning. Both times, the veteran leadoff hitter went on to score. He finished the night 3-for-4.
The performance followed a solid outing in Game 1, when he went 2-for-4 with a walk and scored three runs.
After an injury-plagued 2010 in which he appeared in just 88 games and hit .243 with a .320 on-base percentage, .374 slugging percentage and eight home runs, the Phillies said publicly they did not intend to negotiate a contract extension before the end of 2011.
Rollins' only injury trouble this season came in the form of a strained groin that sidelined him for 3 weeks in late August and early September. He finished the regular season strong, collecting at least two hits in four of his last five games, including three hits in three games.
Rollins played in 142 games, hitting .268 with a .338 on-base percentage, both of which are in line with his career averages (.272 and .329). Although his slugging percentage has decreased steadily since his MVP season in 2007 (from .531 to .437 to .423 to a combined .389 over the last 2 years), Rollins hit 16 homers and converted 30 of his 38 stolen base attempts.
"It was a normal season, really," Rollins said. "[The contract] was never really an issue . . . It was just another baseball season, obviously with a lot on the line, but having the team that we had and being able to come out and perform the way we did, that was first. That was first. If you don't win, all that other stuff kind of goes to the wayside and you deal with it when it comes.
"As for my legacy here in Philadelphia? It's pretty solid."
Raul Ibanez' performance in the first two games of the NLDS raises an interesting question for Charlie Manuel heading into a Game 3 matchup against lefty Jaime Garcia, who has held the Phillies to three earned runs over 28 innings in four starts over the last 2 years.
Manuel has often played powerful righthanded hitter John Mayberry Jr. in leftfield against southpaws, something he said he would be open to doing throughout the postseason. But Ibanez hit a two-run homer and an RBI single in Game 1, then added an RBI single in the first inning of Game 2. Mayberry, who hit .273 with 15 home runs and an .854 OPS in 296 regular-season plate appearances, started both of the Phillies' games against Garcia this year, going 3-for-6 with an RBI double.
The Phillies and Cardinals don't play today but will hold workouts at Busch Stadium. The series resumes tomorrow at 5:07 p.m., when lefties Cole Hamels and Jaime Garcia will square off. Game 4 is currently scheduled for Wednesday at 6:07 p.m., although the game will be moved to 8:07 p.m. if the Brewers sweep the Diamondbacks in the other NLDS.