Entering spring training without a guaranteed contract for the first time in his 16-year career, shortstop Jimmy Rollins has agreed to a minor league deal with the Chicago White Sox. The agreement was reported by Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago.
#WhiteSox have agreed to terms with infielder Jimmy Rollins on a minor-league deal w/ an invite to camp.
— Dan Hayes (@CSNHayes) February 22, 2016
Rollins will be expected to compete with Tyler Saladino for the starting shortstop job in Chicago, but has expressed a willingness to occupy a backup role if necessary. The presence of Rollins in camp should officially rule out the White Sox from signing free-agent shortstop Ian Desmond. Chicago had been viewed as a possible landing spot, but this signing should end that speculation.
Rollins has seen his offensive talents decline over the past two seasons, failing to crack .250 in consecutive years. He played in 144 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, slashing .224/.285/.358 with 13 home runs and 12 stolen bases. His range in the field has also declined, but Rollins does remain sure-handed for the most part. He will make most of the plays required of a starting major-league shortstop.
This is a good low-risk move for the White Sox. Rollins is a veteran presence who can provide a little power and speed. The White Sox needed a stopgap measure while they wait for the arrival of top prospect Tim Anderson. Rollins should be capable of handling that role, and his offense may get a boost from moving to a more hitter-friendly home stadium.