Jimmy Rollins missed the buzz of winning in Philadelphia, so he signed with the Giants
Jimmy Rollins will head to spring training this February and attempt to win a spot on the Giants roster as a non-roster invitee. He’s made over $99 million in a career that includes an MVP, a World Series ring, and four Gold Gloves. Why?
Jimmy Rollins could be suiting up for his fourth different major league team this season. Sounds crazy, doesn't it? After spending 15 years with the Phillies and then hitting just .224 with a .638 OPS in 563 plate appearances for the Dodgers in 2015 and 166 plate appearances for the White Sox in 2016, this offseason seemed like a logical time for the 38-year-old shortstop to retire.
But Rollins will head to spring training this February and attempt to win a spot on the Giants roster as a non-roster invitee. He's made over $99 million in a career that includes an MVP, a World Series ring, and four Gold Gloves.
That's the question Fox Sports baseball insider Ken Rosenthal posed to Rollins in a lengthy interview that you can read in its entirety here.
Rollins said the primary reason was to get another shot at the playoffs, because he missed the buzz that being a winner in a place like Philadelphia can provide.
"Last year, I knew that signing with the Chicago White Sox rather than the Giants, I was signing with a less superior team. But the opportunity that presented itself was better. And I went with that. But there were times in spring training where I was like, 'Man, that energy, that excitement, that's what I need.' That's what I missed. That's what we had for so many years in Philadelphia. With the White Sox, you don't get that following, that excitement when you walk into the spring-training facility. And you definitely don't get it when you go to the stadium (in Chicago). It was on the north side, that fever of, This might be our year.'
"With San Francisco, ever since Barry was there doing his thing, there's always a little buzz when you go to that ballpark. I missed that. I was in the right place. I made the right decision. But I was like, 'That's what I'm missing. I need that little buzz.' That helps you to turn that dial up just another notch."
It's interesting to note the last part of those comments in light of what Chase Utley said when he returned here last August, that he firmly believed that playing in the spotlight in Philadelphia makes players better.
Some of the more interesting insights from the always-thoughtful Rollins included the feeling of being released by the White Sox midseason.
"It was weird... I wasn't playing professional baseball for the first time since I was 17 years old," Rollins told Rosenthal. "The Fourth of July came quick and I thought, "Wow, this is the first Fourth of July I've had since I was 16 years old where I'm actually not on the field. I'm watching fireworks and just doing things that quote-unquote normal people or non-athletes, non-baseball players get to do in those summer months.
"I kind of just stayed away, honestly. I didn't watch it for a little while. I thought, 'Let's see what life is like without baseball.' I'd catch a few innings here or there. There was one point in early September. I was just flipping the channels. And I was like, 'Damn, a baseball game is on?' It hit me, how long the season really is.
"When you're in it, you're playing every day, you understand it's long, but that's just what you do. Now being on this side, I hadn't played since June and it's 2 1/2 months later, I'm like, 'Wow, a baseball game is on. This is crazy. It's still baseball season.'
"I kind of realized what we go through as baseball players, what our bodies go through, what the travel is, to do this every single day. That's when I started thinking, 'Maybe I'm not made to play every day at this point in my career.' The numbers tell the story. There is a cycle of shortstops coming through, and they're all studs. That doesn't leave a lot of room for a guy like me."
Again, here's the link to the full interview.