Ex-MVP Rollins takes minor league deal
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Looking to add an experienced shortstop, the Chicago White Sox acquired a former National League MVP.
Jimmy Rollins agreed Monday to a minor league contract with the White Sox, who hope he can bring provide leadership as well as a solid glove and bat. He would get a $2 million, one-year contract if added to the 40-man roster.
"The move appeals to us on a number of levels," general manager Rick Hahn said. "It's another quality option for our infield, some veteran depth in that area where we previously did not have it, and adds to what we feel is a quality mix in the clubhouse. This guy's a leader, brings energy and a competitive each day."
A three-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove shortstop for Philadelphia, Rollins helped the Phillies win the World Series in 2008 and the NL pennant the following year.
A switch-hitter, he struggled at the plate in his lone season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, hitting .224 last year with 13 homers and 41 RBIs. He was fifth among NL shortstops with a .983 fielding percentage. But at 37, the question is how productive he can be.
"I think that's why we are in here for spring training," manager Robin Ventura said. "We'll see how he's feeling when he goes out there. We are willing to give him that opportunity to find out."
The White Sox, fourth in the AL Central at 76-86 last season, are trying to replace Alexei Ramirez at shortstop. Rollins will compete with Tyler Saladino, who played only 11 games at the position as a rookie last season.
"We are going to come in here and see how this plays out," Ventura said. "I'm not throwing around guarantees for anybody."
Chicago likes Saladino's defense and see this as a chance for him to learn from veteran. The White Sox also could use Saladino or Rollins at other infield spots.
Hahn said Rollins could fill in at second or third base, although he has made just one appearance at a position other than shortstop — at second for Philadelphia in 2002.
Rollins could be a designated hitter on occasion.
"I think he's going to help the young guys as well as play well," Ventura said.
Rollins was voted MVP in 2007, when he hit .296 with 30 homers and 94 RBIs. He was an NL All-Star in 2001, 2002 and 2005, and he won Gold Gloves from 2007 to 2009 as well as in 2012 for Philadelphia.