12:53pm: Rollins would earn a $2MM salary upon making the Major League roster, Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago tweets. MLB.com’s Scott Merkin adds that there are no additional incentives in the deal (Twitter link). Hayes also tweets that Saladino still has a good chance to be the club’s everyday shortstop, though Rollins is an option there, and the veteran shortstop can fill a utility role if Saladino does indeed get the everyday nod.
11:09am: The White Sox announced on Monday that they’ve added shortstop and former Phillies cornerstone Jimmy Rollins on a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training. Rollins is a client of MVP Sports.
Rollins, 37, would seem to have an excellent chance at breaking camp as the team’s everyday shortstop, on paper. Defensively gifted sophomore Tyler Saladino is presently projected to serve as Chicago’s everyday shortstop, but the 26-year-old has little big league experience and didn’t hit in a 254-plate-appearance debut with the Pale Hose last season. Were Rollins to make the club and serve as the team’s shortstop, Saladino could shift into a valuable utility role; he showed strong defensive chops at second base and third base in addition to shortstop last season.
Last season was a struggle for Rollins, who spent the year with the Dodgers after being picked up in an offseason trade with the Phillies, making the 2015 campaign the only season of Rollins’ illustrious career that hasn’t been spent with the Phillies. Rollins tallied 563 plate appearances with the Dodgers but batted just .224/.285/.358 in that time. While those rate stats are unsightly, Rollins did still swat 13 home runs and swipe 12 bases, showing that there’s still some combination of power and speed left in his tank.
Looking for further positives, Rollins’ 15.3 percent strikeout rate was still more than passable, and his 7.8 percent walk rate was in line with his career averages. Beyond that, Sox fans will perhaps take solace in noting that Rollins’ numbers from July through season’s end (.244/.310/.395) vastly outpaced his production from Opening Day through June 30 (.208/.262/.326). While those endpoints are admittedly arbitrary, the fact that Rollins produced at a roughly league-average clip over the final three months of the regular season gives some hope for a return to his previously more successful ways at the plate (although certainly not to his NL MVP levels).
The main source of Rollins’ struggles would appear to be a .246 average on balls in play — one of the worst marks of his career. While Rollins has never had the BABIP marks that one might expect for a player with his considerable speed, last season’s drop is indeed curious, as his line-drive rate and hard contact rates remained in line with his marks from a 2014 season that saw Rollins bat .243/.323/.394 with 17 home runs. If Rollins can return to those levels, he’d serve as a more-than-adequate stopgap to perceived shortstop of the future and top prospect Tim Anderson, who could make his debut in 2016.
While Rollins was unproductive last season, it still seems surprising that he ultimately commanded a minor league deal, as he was productive as recently as 2014. Then again, it’s possible that Rollins took a minors deal with a fairly substantial guaranteed base salary over some big league deals with lower salaries or a questionable role. The Sox do present a very clear path to everyday at-bats at the shortstop position, and it’s possible that the seasoned and well-respected veteran felt this route offered him the best opportunity to play everyday and reestablish his stock. The Sox do, after all, offer a hitter-friendly environment and a club with raised expectations after adding Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie to what was a highly unproductive infield unit last season. Indeed, FOX’s Ken Rosenthal now reports, shortly after the signing, that Rollins did have a pair of big league offers, though each was for a super-utility role (Twitter link). Rollins’ preference was to try to earn his way into an everyday role with the Sox.
Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago first reported the agreement (via Twitter).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Don’t mind it, he was awful with the bat but don’t think he’s that much better that Saladino. Were not counting on him everyday but wouldn’t be surprised if he plays more than half the PA’s at SS this year. Also hope he’s a good mentor to Tim Anderson.
just retire already. Don’t need the money, don’t need to tarnish your career. I hate when guys hang on too long
Rollins is one season removed from posting league-average ratios at the plate with solid defense at shortstop, 17 home runs and 28 steals.
Why would the assumption be that based on one season — during which he again posted league-average rate stats over the season’s final three months, no less — he’s totally cooked? It’s not like he’s been embarrassing himself for years on end, and even if he were playing consistently below replacement level, it’s his choice to continue playing the game as long as teams will pay him to do so.
It’s kind of bad when Stephen Drew gets a MLB deal and real money (3m) while all Rollins can come up with is a MiLB deal with a ST invite.
You mean bad for Mike Rizzo, right?
He can play as long as he wants to play. But the assumption that he’s cooked could be because he’s 37. But Saladino isn’t good so Rollins was smart to go to a team where even a declining 37 year old has a chance to start.
You’d retire from a game you love playing and have played the majority of your life with people still willing to pay you to play? He’d probably play for free if he could, guys who love the game will not quit until they are forced to quit.
True, just don’t embarrass yourself Jimmy.
I just pray that Jimmy isn’t joining the Johnny Damon Club where you hope to hang in long enough for 3,000 hits to get in the HOF, because like Damon, it ain’t gonna happen.
Ian Desmond is now down to The Rockies & The Rays. I don’t see Tampa surrendering their Draft pick which would be the 13th pick. He must be suicidle by now. 7 years 100 million mistake.
At this point I dont see him signing till the draft when the pick compensation goes away. It probably makes more sense for him anyway as then more teams would possibly be in.
His bat doesn’t make up for his mediocre defense at best. Losing a compensatory pick is just stupid for a guy like Desmond lol
There’s someone else. There’s always someone else. And that’s not even considering that some starting SS somewhere is going to get hurt.
Joking about being suicidal really isn’t amusing.
Typical, another dumpster dive move. Bringing in yet another player way past their prime who won’t hit and will be an automatic out when at the plate. I have said this for the few years now, it is time Reinsdorf sells the team to someone who understands how to run an organization in today’s game. He clearly does not. Sox need a major rebuild from top to bottom. Yes they have a decent rotation. But their starting line up is lacking past Abreu and Easton. Frazier is a 5th or 6th place hitter at best. But Sox will be stupid and hit him in front of Abreu. Plus coming over from the NL, his BA will take a dump to boot. Every NL power hitter this team has brought in has hit less than career average when they played. He’s to another last place finish in the division.
The way to look it is that this move cannot hurt the white sox if he’s bad because he won’t be expensive and they’ll be able to cut him if he’s really bad. I expect him to be a little better than saladino offensively and a little worse defensively. Numbers(HR and SB) are about what Alexei put up the last couple of years with less RBI because he bats at the bottom of the lineup.
It’s a minors deal.
We gave up almost nothing to add temporary depth at SS until Tim Anderson comes up.
Rollins is not penciled in to be an every-day player at this point right now in February.
He certainly wants to BE that every-day player, and it is all up to him to get there. If he DOES get there, well, that would indicate that he is playing at level to make an + impact.
If he sucks, he just goes back to playing in the minors.
I don’t really see anything terrible about this move… I just don’t know what is taking them so long to get that OF.
It’s just a minor league deal dude – there’s literally no harm at all.
Agreed. With all the money they waste on second tier, past their prime tier, they could’ve signed top free agents to those long term deals JR condemns. They still make these same signings then wonder why we don’t frequent the cell as often as we should.
As a white sox fan I don’t mind not surrendering any of our draft picks so far to FA’s with QO’s attached to them. Personally I think desmond isn’t very good and I’m ok riding out what we have at SS to eventually give Anderson the job moving forward. I would like to see more minor league deals for depth on the pitching side as well as utility players in the event of an injury or poor production. I expect the sox to go sign Austin Jackson to play some outfield for us. Still a few intriguing players on the market who could help us out. I do agree that JR should sell the team as I have been all over him for awhile with the ways he has ruined this organization and the chicago bulls.
I continue to read White Sox fans just assume Anderson will be their next stud SS. He’s going to hit and has great speed but if I had to wager on it, I’d bet he’s a second baseman. Most scouts have said they don’t think he sticks at SS. 19 errors in 67 games? Some say he has a 2b arm.
Los Calcetines Rojos
If anything he plays CF, not 2B. Another ss who heavily struggled to put up respectable defensive numbers but hit with comparable offensive numbers in the minors put up 21 errors 919fp year 1, 56 errors 889fp year 2, 25 errors 959fp year 3, 29 errors and 953fp in year 4 but ultimately is regarded as one of the best defensive shortstops of all time once he moved to the majors was also once considered too poor to stay at ss. Not saying he becomes him but Derek Jeter had those exact same criticisms at one point. that Anderson has. His athleticism, which is off the charts, points to the idea he will be at least league average at ss. Anderson most likely will be a stud though as there is a ton to like about him whether it be his hit tool, speed, or athleticism he is a great prospect
Nobody assumes he will stick at SS, sox fans are willing to give a young prospect a shot to prove he can handled the position because he is our current best long term option. If the defense continues to be poor which is why he’s still in the minors the white sox will explore other options hopefully with him.
And saladino wont be an automatic out? At least jimmy still has some pop
You make is sound like they finish last in the division every year. Since 1990 they have exactly one last place finish. I won’t say they’ve been good these last five years, but you might have the sox confused with a different team.
To echo everyone else, it’s a minor league deal. Are you really comparing this to the Dunn or Laroche deals?
It’s a minor league deal but it’s 2Mil if he makes the team.
Rollins can opt out if he doesn’t make the team by a set date. (Usually late March)
Good security for both sides, but even though it technically is a “minor league deal”, the irony is that there’s literally no chance that Rollins ever plays a “minor league game”
A whole 2 million?!
He surprised me by being a great team guy all year last year. But his BABIP will continue to suffer as long as he thanks he’s still hitting at the Bank. They’re F9’s at most parks.
Rollins pulled fewer balls than he has in any season since 2011 last year, and he hit .305 on balls he pulled. He was at .286 up the middle and .163 to the opposite field. If anything, it would seem he changed his approach upon moving away from Citizens Bank Park and suffered for it.
U.S. Cellular Field has been more conducive to left-handed power than the Bank in recent seasons anyway.
You and your fancy stays always trying to get in the way of a good narrative, Steve!
His exit velo was well below league average most of last year. He hit into lots of soft outs. All over the field, superfan.
Great move by the sox
glad he isn’t a dodger anymore so I don’t have to boo a hometown guy anymore… being from alameda.
No Soup For Yu!
Or you could actually act classy and not boo anyone on your team.
This sure proves that their minors system is terrible. And Hahn and Williams still have a job?
How in any way does this prove their system is terrible?
Los Calcetines Rojos
man, some people are so critical of the smallest moves. It’s a minors deal=no harm in it whatsoever. If he performs, great. If he sucks, he’s cut or is in AAA. No harm at all in this deal
Look at the glove, experience and leadership he brings. Of which, Desmond has none of these qualities.
Desmond draws rave reviews for his leadership, has ample experience, although limited playoff experience (if that’s what you mean), and metrics say that his glove isn’t quite as bad as the error total would indicate. And, unlike Rollins, he can be a formidable threat at the plate. Rollins is a cheap, low-risk addition for Chicago and doesn’t cost the comp pick obviously, but he’s not at all better than Desmond anymore
rollins probably starts. and sanchez can play ss and hit too. saladino cant hit. sox need hits and runs. anderson projects as cf.
Jimmy a got some Baseball left in him, he won’t spend one day on the minors
I love this move (partly because I asked for it), very low risk, high potential reward. Keep in mind, he’ll probably be hitting 8th or 9th most of the time. Gives the lineup incredible versatility. Great leader and clubhouse guy to help keep Latos and Lawrie in line. A year removed from 3.8 WAR. I’m surprised it took them this long to sign him. On to RF, Mr. Hahn.
Los Calcetines Rojos
agreed, another low risk high reward move. nothing wrong with it at all! I see Ajax signing with them in the end or a low-end trade for Markakis once the ST games start
Does no one else see that he’s going to mentor Tim Anderson? He will make the 25 man. I’d rather have him around Anderson than Saladino.
I see it. Rollins is one of the games great personalities and mentors. If you have young players on a team who need help figuring out how the game should be played, few are better in that role than Jimmie Rollins. He has future coach or manager written all over him.
I really think Rollins will be the opening day starter, unless Saladino just wows us all the spring.
Only 1 season removed from a 4,0 WAR.