PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies' front office has established a couple of interesting patterns the last few years.
In the summer, it has made blockbuster trades on July 29: Cliff Lee in 2009, Roy Oswalt in 2010 and Hunter Pence in 2011. In the winter, it has used the Winter Meetings to build toward a major move. They acquired Roy Halladay from the Toronto Blue Jays the week following the 2009 Winter Meetings, and brought back Lee the week following the 2010 Winter Meetings.
It would not be a surprise to see the Phillies work quietly during this week's Winter Meetings, which officially open Monday in Dallas, before making a significant move next week.
Of course, everything can change with one phone call.
They would love to have Jimmy Rollins' agent meet with them this week and tell them Rollins will be back in red pinstripes in 2012, but he became the top shortstop on the market when the Marlins agreed to a six-year deal with Jose Reyes reportedly worth $106 million. The Phillies' courtship of Rollins is also delayed by other free agents like Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder to decide.
For example, the Cardinals need a shortstop, but if they re-sign Pujols they seem unlikely to have the money to sign Rollins.
If Pujols goes elsewhere, the Cardinals will have money to spend, maybe on Rollins.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., said last week that shortstop is his top priority, and after that he might be closed to finished with his offseason shopping. Take that for what it's worth -- Amaro has made claims like that before dropping a few surprises on everybody.
MLB.com will be following the Winter Meetings and updating fans with news throughout the week. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel will be meeting with reporters Tuesday evening, so reporters will have a chance to ask him his take on this season's happenings.
The meetings close with Thursday's Rule 5 Draft. In recent seasons, the Phillies have acquired Shane Victorino, David Herndon and Michael Martinez in the Draft.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.