PHOENIX — The San Francisco Giants could offer Jimmy Rollins the same money as the White Sox, a homecoming and an opportunity to play in an even year.
But as tempting as that combination was, the White Sox could offer the one thing the Giants couldn’t — the potential for playing time. Giants general manager Bobby Evans confirmed the team’s interest in Rollins at an MLB event Monday at the Arizona Biltmore Resort, noting his team’s offer was similar to the White Sox, who will pay Rollins $2 million if he reaches to the majors. Rollins signed a minor league deal with an invite to big league camp.
“We just didn’t have an everyday role, and that’s really what made it tough for us,” Evans said. “We’d love to bring a Bay Area guy back, and have a lot of admiration for him. But there’s an opportunity there in Chicago that we couldn’t offer.”
Though there are no guarantees, Rollins has a chance to take the starting shortstop job away from White Sox second-year man Tyler Saladino. Were he to have signed in San Francisco, Rollins would have had no regular chance to start as shortstop Brandon Crawford recently signed a six-year extension.
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Still, the money was in the same neighborhood, and Rollins hails from just across the bay in Oakland. And though they would never include it in their pitch, the Giants can boast that they have won World Series titles in each of the previous three even years: 2010, 2012 and 2014.
Evans saw enough from Rollins in 2015 to offer him a role as a super utility man.
“I just still think he’s very athletic,” Evans said. “Thought he had some good tough at-bats and some good periods of time where he did very well. I think as Corey Seager came up, his time changed a little bit. But there’s a lot of value there.”
Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal first reported San Francisco’s interest in Rollins.