After turning down their $10 million team option on longtime shortstop Alexei Ramirez the White Sox seemed ready to turn the position over to young, in-house options like Tyler Saladino, but Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com reports that they’ve signed 37-year-old former MVP Jimmy Rollins to a minor-league deal.
Rollins really struggled for the Dodgers last season, hitting just .224 with a career-worst .643 OPS in 144 games following 15 seasons with the Phillies. However, he did top a .700 OPS after the All-Star break and smacked 13 homers overall. If he makes the Opening Day roster Rollins will be guaranteed just $2 million.
As a veteran place-holder and mentor for the young middle infield options Rollins could make some sense, but handing him an everyday job would be a mistake at this stage of his career. Combined during the past three seasons Rollins hit .240 with a .310 on-base percentage and .366 slugging percentage while losing effectiveness as a base-stealer and defender.
He’s a shell of his former self, but Rollins’ former self was good enough that even at age 37 there might still be a little gas left in the tank while the White Sox wait for top prospect Tim Anderson to arrive in the majors. Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Rollins turned down multiple offers to join other teams as a well-paid utility man because he wants the chance to win the starting job in Chicago.
In looking over some numbers, I noticed this:
Alexei Ramirez last year: .285 on-base percentage, .357 slugging percentage
Jimmy Rollins last year: .285 on-base percentage, .358 slugging percentage