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.
On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.
After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.
Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.
The full statement:
Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.
We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.
We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.
Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.