The Chicago White Sox signed veteran shortstop Jimmy Rollins to a minor league contract Monday and will invite him to the team's camp.
CSN Chicago's Dan Hayes reported the White Sox's acquisition, and 670 The Score's Bruce Levine confirmed the news. Aaron Gleeman of NBC Sports noted Rollins will be guaranteed $2 million if he makes the Opening Day roster.
Rollins played for the Los Angeles Dodgers last year, batting .224 with 13 home runs and 41 RBI in 144 games. He spent the prior 15 MLB seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies.
"We envision Jimmy contributing both on and off the field,'' said White Sox general manager Rick Hahn, per ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick.
There's no guarantee Rollins will be an everyday starter in 2016, but Hahn's comments suggest he at least has a strong chance to be a big contributor in the Windy City. Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal explains how potential playing time was a huge factor in Rollins' decision to sign:
Rollins, per source, rejected 2 teams that offered super-utility jobs and guaranteed deals for more $. Wanted chance to win SS job with CWS.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 22, 2016
The 37-year-old is still fast enough to steal bases and would provide his usual range on defense. As a four-time Gold Glove Award winner, Rollins has always been reliable in the field and made only nine errors last year.
Contrast that figure with Ian Desmond, a shortstop the White Sox have been linked to, who made 27 errors in 2015—as many as Rollins has in the past three seasons.
SB Nation's Chris Cotillo figured Chicago would cease pursuing Desmond, one of the better free agents remaining on the open market:
Would say the Rollins news means no Ian Desmond for the White Sox...— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) February 22, 2016
Chicago has been active in upgrading its roster this offseason, particularly in the infield. Its forecast for this year looks rather promising with the arrivals of power-hitting third baseman Todd Frazier and talented 26-year-old Brett Lawrie.
Both Frazier and Lawrie were brought aboard through trades, and the decision to sign Rollins is of the low-risk, high-reward variety.
Adding a seasoned pro like Rollins to the mix only figures to improve the White Sox clubhouse environment and provide key leadership from a former National League MVP and World Series champion.