After one of the most tumultuous offseasons in recent history, left-hander David Rollins has cleared outright waivers, tweets Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. Rollins will be in Major League Spring Training as a non-roster invitee, where he’ll compete for a spot in the Chicago bullpen.
There are players in Rollins’ boat every offseason — those who are seemingly deemed a fringe 40-man roster candidate by multiple clubs but bounce from team to team as those clubs make other roster maneuverings. (Casper Wells and Gonzalez Germen come to mind as a couple of names that have recently ridden the DFA carousel for much of the offseason.) Rollins, though, is among the most extreme examples of that situation, having been designated for assignment a staggering six times this winter.
“At the end of the day, it’s a business. I get it,” Rollins told ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick last week after his sixth DFA. “But I’m still a human. I keep thinking, ’Teams like me enough to pick me up, but nobody wants to take a chance on me.’ It’ll play games with your head, that’s for sure.” Rangers GM Jon Daniels, who has twice claimed Rollins this winter, weighed in on the matter to Crasnick as well, noting that some kind of limitation on the waiver process has at least been discussed at the annual GM meetings, though no rule has been agreed upon. Rollins’ agent, Jonathan Maurer, also spoke to Crasnick about the difficulties the process can place on certain players. (The entire piece is well worth a read, as it’s rife with quotes from multiple vantage points on the matter.)
While Rollins has yet to experience much in the way of Major League success — he has a 7.60 ERA in 34 1/3 Major League innings — he’s a fairly hard-throwing left-handed reliever with a solid minor league track record. Rollins has averaged 92 mph on his fastball in the Majors, and he owns a 2.82 ERA with 7.1 K/9 against 1.2 BB/9 in 60 2/3 innings at Triple-A in his career. The former Rule 5 pick does have an 80-game PED suspension issued back in 2015 hanging over him, but that hardly seems to have curbed interest in him.
Though the offseason has undoubtedly been exhausting for Rollins, he’ll now at least have some peace of mind as he heads to Spring Training with the Cubs in hope of securing a spot in the big league bullpen. That looks to be an uphill battle, as the Cubs project to have Brian Duensing and one of Mike Montgomery or Brett Anderson in the bullpen. Additionally, they’ve reportedly made an offer to bring Travis Wood back into the mix, and Rob Zastryzny also remains on the 40-man roster.