David Rollins is an intriguing, borderline-big-league lefty reliever, which is to say he’s right there at the cusp of being worth a 40-man roster spot to a lot of teams. But, all else equal, you’d rather be able to outright him to AAA, and keep him free and clear there for a season, able to call him up if necessary, but stash him otherwise.
Viewed in that light, some waiver wire bouncing wouldn’t be a huge surprise. Except with Rollins, it’s gotten a bit extreme.
LHP David Rollins could set all-time transactions record. Per source, just got claimed by #Cubs – again. Fifth time claimed since Nov. 18.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 23, 2016
Rollins, whom the Cubs originally claimed from the Mariners in mid-November, was claimed by the Rangers just a few days later. But then the Phillies grabbed him off of waivers 10 days later. And then the Rangers grabbed him back a few weeks later. And now the Cubs have grabbed him back from the Rangers. Everyone wants to get Rollins through waivers and outright him to AAA. We’ll see if the Cubs actually keep him on the 40-man roster at this point, or if they try once again to get him through.
There are still a few months left in the offseason, so, by my count, Rollins probably has five or six more transactions in him before the offseason is up.
The Cubs’ 40-man roster will stand at 38 after the Rollins addition is confirmed.
Rollins, 26, saw action in the big leagues with the Mariners for parts of the past two seasons, but the results were wanting, despite not-absolutely-terrible peripherals (well, in 2015, anyway; the peripherals in 9.1 big league innings in 2016 were across the board ugly).
Rollins spent most of his 2016 season at AAA, posting a 3.77 ERA and 3.86 FIP over 45.1 innings. He struck out 32, which isn’t all that compelling for an experienced reliever at AAA, but he also issued only four unintentional walks. This is a gentleman with control.
Rollins was suspended 80 games in 2015 for a positive PED test, so there’s also that.
We’ll dig more into Rollins in the coming weeks, as the 40-man roster undergoes some changes. As is always possible this time of year, the Cubs could try to get Rollins through waivers, themselves, and then try to keep him in the minor league system (but not taking up a 40-man roster spot). To the extent he sticks around, the early assumption is that Rollins is being snagged as upper-level lefty bullpen depth.