The Chicago White Sox agreed to terms with veteran shortstop Jimmy Rollins on Monday morning. The deal is labeled as a minor league contract, worth just $2 Million if Rollins breaks camp with the White Sox.
The former National League’s Most Valuable player Rollins, now 37 years-old is just a shell of his former self entering major league season number 17 this year. Even so Rollins will have the chance to compete for the starting shortstop position this spring with the White Sox.
Rollins played the 2015 season with the Los Angeles Dodgers after playing his first 15 in Philadelphia, where he won a World Series Championship in 2008, and another National League Pennant in 2009. Rollins posted a .224 BA with 13 home runs, 41 RBI, and 71 runs in 144 games in 2015. Before you get all worked up over the mediocre numbers, remember that Alexei Ramirez had less home runs, and less runs scored last season that Rollins did, and would have made $8 Million more than him had the White Sox picked up his option this winter.
Rollins is a cheap, low risk signing by the White Sox front office just in time for spring training, but the move could play out a few different ways before spring training wraps up. The more likely scenario is that Rollins is in good shape, impresses in camp, and is named the starting shortstop heading into the regular season, adding to the White Sox bench depth by making Tyler Saladino, and Carlos Sanchez utility infielders as well as late game defensive replacements. Second scenario is Rollins is out of shape, and just has nothing left in the tank for 2016, at which point he either plays a back-up role with the Sox, or goes down to Charlotte and has the opportunity to mentor Tim Anderson for as long as the White Sox see fit. The last scenario is of course, neither of those two options play out, and Rollins is released when camp breaks with the White Sox taking a minimal loss financially.
You don’t have to love the deal, and it may feel like another Manny Ramirez, or Ken Griffey, Jr. too late type of deal, but bringing in a former MVP, World Series Champion, and four time Gold Glove Award winner to ramp up competition during spring training at the minimum, you can’t really go wrong. Jimmy Rollins is scheduled to report to camp on Thursday morning.