Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Jimmy Rollins on time with White Sox: “A lot of the guys that were outspoken are no longer there.”

8 Comments

Giants shortstop Jimmy Rollins spoke about his brief stint with the White Sox in 2016. As Craig recapped back in December, the White Sox had two of baseball’s biggest stories of the year and for the wrong reasons. Adam LaRoche abruptly retired when team president Ken Williams said he couldn’t bring his son Drake into the clubhouse. And Chris Sale shredded up his jersey in protest because he felt the throwback jerseys were uncomfortable and would have forced him to alter his mechanics. The White Sox traded Sale to the Red Sox in December.

Rollins had signed with the White Sox on February 22 last year but the veteran had a forgettable stint, hitting .221/.295/.329 with 11 extra-base hits and eight RBI in 166 plate appearances before being released on June 15.

Rollins is now with the Giants on a minor league deal. Unsurprisingly, Rollins was asked about his time with the White Sox and Courtney Cronin of Mercury News has video:

It was a clubhouse in disarray after that point. Although we did great. It’s always a little players versus the front office but I think just because of the way it was handled — a lot of the guys that were outspoken are no longer there. They’re in better places if you ask me, but they’re no longer there.

[…]

Maybe my third day there and the funny part was, when Adam came in, I had just went to the bathroom so I didn’t hear anything. And I came out and like, “He’s retiring.” I’m like, “Why is everybody so sad?” You celebrate a guy retiring. He had a great career and he made his decision. Then I found out why and then… chaos. Don’t have to worry about that here [with the Giants].

Rollins has never been one to mince his words as he was at times critical of the team during his 15-year stint with the Phillies. And Rollins’ criticism of the White Sox isn’t anything we haven’t already heard.

UPDATE: Donald Trump declines Nats offer to throw out the first pitch

Getty Images
89 Comments

UPDATE: Welp, we wont’ get to see that:

Sad!

8:53 AM: It’s just gossip now, but Politico is hearing that Donald Trump is in talks to throw out the first pitch at Nationals Park on Opening Day. The Nats are not commenting. Neither are the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League, who no doubt feel slighted given that the president effectively is a local.

With the caveat that, on Opening Day, tickets are likely to be more expensive and thus you’re likely to have a lot more rich people and friends-of-the-owners in attendance, thereby ensuring a more conservative crowd, I’m struggling to imagine a situation in which Trump strolls on to a baseball field in a large American city and isn’t booed like crazy. He’s polling as low as 36% in some places. He’s not exactly Mr. Popular.

Oh well. I look forward to him three-bouncing one to Matt Wieters and then grabbing his phone and tweeting about how it was the best, most tremendous first pitch in baseball history. Or blaming Hillary Clinton for it in the event he admits that it was a bad pitch.

2017 Preview: Texas Rangers

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2017 season. Next up: The Texas Rangers.

The Rangers somehow won the AL West last year despite not being super great at any one aspect of the game. There are stars here — Adrian Beltre, Cole Hamels, Yu Darvish and Rougned Odor are all spiffy players — but the Rangers won the division by being greater than the sum of their parts. They scored a decent number of runs despite some bad collective peripheral numbers and they allowed more runs than anyone in the AL except the Twins and Athletics. Yet they had a great record in one-run games and outperformed their pythagorean record by a WHOLE lot. Luck shined brightly on the 2016 Rangers.

It’s hard to expect luck to hold in any instance, but that’s especially the case when there have been some pretty significant changes. Changes like the loss of Carlos Beltran, Ian Desmond and Mitch Moreland. In their place: A full season, the Rangers hope, from Shin-Soo Choo, a converted-to-outfield Jurickson Profar and Mike Napoli. That may wash out OK, especially if Choo is healthy, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see some regression in two of those offensive slots.

Starting pitching is also a big question mark. Cole Hamels at the top is not a problem, obviously, and if Yu Darvish is healthy and durable the Rangers have an outstanding 1-2 punch. Martin Perez in the third spot presents promise, but he’s been exactly average so far in five major league seasons. The back end of the rotation has some real problems. Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross are hurt at the moment and even if healthy, Cashner seems to be a shell of his once-promising self. A.J. Griffin is looking to pitch in his first full season since 2013. If the Rangers are strong contenders all year it’s gonna be on the “Spahn and Sain and two days of rain” model, but I have no idea what rhymes with “Darvish” and that’s sort of a problem.

The bullpen is going to look a lot like it did last year. Sam Dyson will close, but manager Jeff Banister has shown in the past that he’s not a slave to keeping guys in any one role down there. Jeremy Jeffress will likely set up but he’s closed before. Some think Matt Bush or Keone Kela could close. We’ll see Tanner Scheppers and lefty Alex Claudio. Banister has a Manager of the Year Award on his mantle and while that often doesn’t mean anything, it usually suggests that a guy knows how to deal with his pen. Banister will do OK with what he has.

Really, though, the rotation is a concern, as is hoping that a 35-year-old Mike Napoli and a soon-to-be 38-year-old Adrian Beltre can continue to be the types of players who can form the offensive core of a playoff team. There’s talent and a track record here, but there’s a lot of uncertainty. For that reason, I suspect the Rangers will fall back a smidge this year, even if they’re a playoff contender.

Prediction: Second Place, American League West.