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
The postseason has a knack for finding unlikely heroes. Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki was 1-for-23 in the postseason entering Wednesday’s Game 2 of the World Series. The Nats and Astros each plated two runs in the first inning, then went otherwise scoreless through the sixth inning. In the top of the seventh, with Justin Verlander returning to the mound, Suzuki demolished a high, 1-0 fastball just below the train tracks in left field at Minute Maid Park, breaking the 2-2 tie.
Verlander proceeded to walk Victor Robles, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to take his veteran starter out of the game. Ryan Pressly came in to attempt to keep it a one-run game.
The underdog Nationals held on to defeat the Astros 5-4 in Game 1. Another victory by the Nats in Game 2 would put the Astros — heavy favorites according to oddsmakers — in a big hole.
Update: Pressly walked the first batter he faced, Trea Turner. Adam Eaton successfully sacrifice bunted both runners over. After Anthony Rendon flied out to shallow center field, Hinch decided to issue his team’s first intentional walk of the entire year to Juan Soto, loading the bases. Howie Kendrick then hit what appeared to be an inning-ending ground out, but Alex Bregman booted the ball as he moved to his left. Turner scored to make it 4-2. The floodgates opened when Asdrúbal Cabrera lined a single to center field, bringing home two more runs to pad the lead to 6-2. While pitching to Ryan Zimmerman, Pressly uncorked a wild pitch to allow the two base runners to advance. Zimmerman followed up with a slow roller down the third base line which Bregman barehanded and proceeded to throw away. Two more runs scored. 8-2. Yiiiikes, Astros.