Three time All Star and former NL MVP Jimmy Rollins once taught us that performance can hurt:
And, indeed, Rollins’s performance has been hurting the White Sox and his fans who remember those glory days with the Phillies.
It hurt so bad, in fact, that the 37 year old was designated by assignment this morning by the Chicago White Sox, who have made a flurry of changes this week, possibly in response to my super-helpful article on Tuesday. Rollins is being replaced by 23 year old top prospect Tim Anderson, who will make his Major League debut tonight.
This is the fourth major move the reeling Sox have made in week in response to a brutal stretch in which they’ve gone from having the best record in the American League to being .500 and in fouth place in the AL Central. Over their last 24 games, they have gone 6-18.
First, Chicago traded for James Shields to shore up a rotation that was struggling on the back end. Then, yesterday Mat Latos was DFAed to make room in that rotation. Also yesterday, the Sox signed Justin Morneau to eventually take over at DH. Now, the Sox will hopefully upgrade at shortstop as well.
That’s not certain, however. Anderson has 256 plate appearances at Triple-A, in which he’s hit .304/.325/.409 while walking just eight times. To put all of this in some perspective, no player in the Major Leagues has walked that rarely in as many plate appearances. And this is not out of character. In his minor league career, Anderson has walked in just 4.3% of his plate appearances. Anderson is virtually guaranteed to make a ton of outs.
But then, so was Rollins, whose .295 OBP was a big part of the reason he became expendable. So too were his .221 batting average and .329 slugging percentage. Rollins’s production has fallen off so much, he may not get another job as anything more than a utility player and veteran presence. At least Anderson has a chance, however slim, to be better than his mentor and favorite player at the plate and on the field. Maybe he can make the pain stop.