5:30 p.m. EST update: Pretty much everyone is shutting this down now. Rollins still appears likely to re-sign with the Phillies, but there hasn’t been any agreement.
5:15 p.m. EST update: ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark, who still has very strong Phillies sources after all of his time in Philly, doesn’t believe that a Rollins deal is done just yet.
5:05 p.m. EST update: SiriusXM’s Jim Duquette reports that the Phillies and Rollins have agreed to terms.
1:00 p.m. EST update: Jon Heyman reports that Rollins’ return to Philly is likely to happen, but that it’s still being worked on. The contract will probably be for three or four years, perhaps with the fourth year in the form of a vesting option.
The Brewers are hearing that Jimmy Rollins is going to re-sign with the Phillies, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt, and they’ve started to turn back towards their other shortstop options.
ESPN’s Chris Singleton tweets something similar, saying he received a “pretty encouraging report from a Phillies person that a deal will get done.”
The pieces definitely fit, especially in light of the report late last night that the Phillies were out of the running for Aramis Ramirez. There was no way they were going to sign both Ramirez and Rollins. Now the Brewers might sign Ramirez and bring back Yuniesky Betancourt to play shortstop.
On Monday, Baseball America reported that MLB is prepared to expand to Portland and Montreal. We talked about that at length yesterday. One of the most common responses to that piece has been “Portland? Really?”
There’s good reason for that response. Baseball-to-Portland has been talked about for years, but there has never been any real traction. Past initiatives have failed, significant public funding for a stadium seems to be a political impossibility and, heck, Portland wasn’t even interested in keeping its Triple-A team, turning its stadium into a much more successful soccer venue and not missing the Beavers all that much.
It would seem, however, that the reports are not mere speculation and there is a genuine baseball-to-Portland initiative afoot once again. From the Oregonian:
On Tuesday, former Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that he is part of the Portland group.
“I am officially involved with a campaign to bring Major League Baseball and a stadium development to Portland,” Barrett said. “There is also a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative. We will keep you fully apprised of any/all developments as this project progresses.”
One guy — a broadcaster no less — saying he’s part of a group is not exactly a major needle-mover, of course. But it does contrast with past Portland initiatives that have been well-publicized grassroots affairs. While those may have been more broad-based and while their public nature may have provided some refreshing transparency, the simple fact of professional sports ownership in the 21st century is that well-monied groups who play things close to the vest are more likely to make waves. We’re in an age when technocratic hedge fund-type guys make things happen in this arena, not in an age when flamboyant public personalities do.
None of which is to say that baseball in Portland is a lock or that expansion anywhere is a short term proposition. It’s just to note that, yeah, there is a bit more going on, it seems, than just pointing at a map and saying “yeah, a team would make sense here.”