Jimmy Rollins is all but guaranteed to make the White Sox

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Jimmy Rollins‘ minor-league deal with the White Sox includes zero guaranteed money, but the former MVP turned down major-league contracts elsewhere and clearly expects to make the team out of spring training.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura told Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com today that he also expects Rollins to make the Opening Day roster and since Ventura is the guy actually making those decisions it’s a pretty safe assumption. What role Rollins will fill is another issue, of course. He has to beat out Tyler Saladino for the starting job, which is certainly doable.

Rollins drew interest from multiple teams–including the Giants–as a part-time player or utility infielder, but he took the White Sox’s non-guaranteed offer because he felt it presented the best opportunity to win a starting job at age 37. If he does crack the Opening Day roster Rollins will be guaranteed just $2 million, so he’s clearly in it for the playing time.

Rollins hit just .224 with 13 homers and a .643 OPS in 144 games for the Dodgers last season, but his production rose in the second half and even a .643 OPS was within shouting distance of the MLB average for shortstops.