Furcal's deal could pave way for Rollins' return

Furcal's deal could pave way for Rollins' return

PHILADELPHIA -- As the Phillies checked out of their rooms at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas on Thursday, the news that Albert Pujols signed with the Angels indicated they could have more competition for Jimmy Rollins.

The Cardinals had holes at first base, second base and shortstop, and with Pujols on the West Coast, they could have spent money on Rollins, complicating things for the Phillies.

But Rafael Furcal and the Cards agreed to a two-year deal on Saturday. That follows news the Brewers signed Alex Gonzalez to a contract. Those signings mean that Rollins' two most likely suitors other than the Phillies no longer need a shortstop.

That would seem to help the Phillies.

It is believed the Phillies have offered Rollins a three-year contract. Rollins has been seeking a five-year deal. It is possible the Phillies could add a fourth year or a fourth-year option to keep Rollins. But unless there is a mystery team out there looking for a shortstop, it appears Rollins will not find a five-year contract.

And with St. Louis potentially out of the picture, he might not find a team that is willing to offer more than the Phillies, either. But Rollins' agent is Dan Lozano, who got Pujols to leave St. Louis for Los Angeles. Anything is possible, certainly in an offseason that has seen Pujols leave St. Louis, Jose Reyes leave New York, Mark Buehrle leave Chicago and Prince Fielder expected to leave Milwaukee.

Rollins still could leave Philadelphia. The problem at the moment is finding a place where he would go.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.