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Jimmy Rollins signs minor league deal with White Sox

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In other news, 2008 was a really, really long time ago.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The last time Jimmy Rollins made an All Star team, Hurricane Katrina had hit New Orleands. President George W. Bush had just started his second term in office. And the video-sharing website "YouTube" was founded.

That was the year 2005, 11 years ago. We were all so innocent then. Rollins would, of course, win the MVP award two years later and was part of a world champion in 2008.

But times, they are a' changin' for the Phils' all-time hits leader.

It certainly ain't 2005 anymore. Nor is it 2007, 2008 or even 2014, when Rollins was a four-win player.

No, it's 2016, eight full years after the that world championship and Rollins, like much of that 2008 team, is either nearing the end of their careers or have already moved on to daily golf trips or are talking about baseball for a living.

Of all the teams though, Chicago is a great fit. Rollins would appear to have the inside track on starting the season as the White Sox' everyday shortstop. On their depth chart right now, Tyler Saladino is listed as the starter at short, and his stats are, um, not terribly impressive.

Of course, neither were Jimmy's last year.

Player PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR
Jimmy Rollins 563 .224 .285 .358 .283 80 0.2
Tyler Saladino 254 .225 .267 .335 .264 61 0.2

Saladino only played 11 games at shortstop as a rookie last season, when Alexei Ramirez was the team's everyday player at that position. He signed with the Padres as a free agent this off-season.

It was definitely not a good year for J-Roll in L.A. in 2015. But when you look behind the numbers, there's reason to think he won't be quite as bad this year.

Here are some of Rollins' batted ball numbers from 2014 to 2015, a season in which he went from a .717 OPS to a .643 OPS.

Year LD% GB% FB% HR/FB Pull% Cent% Oppo% Soft% Med% Hard%
2014 19.3 40.2 40.5 9.6 54.5 30.2 15.3 19.6 54.3 26.1
2015 19 38.3 42.6 7.3 50.8 27.7 21.5 17.6 57 25.4

His line drive, ground ball and fly ball rate were virtually the same. And his soft, medium and hard-hit ball percentages were pretty close too. What dropped were his home runs per fly ball and his pull/opposite field hitting numbers, indicating perhaps that Rollins had a little more trouble getting around on fastballs in 2015 than in years past.

Rollins also saw a drop in his walk rate, from 10.5% to 7.8% last year. However, that 7.8% was just a hair under his career walk rate of 7.9%.

What may be most shocking is that our 2008 Phillies have come to this. Ryan Howard is playing on his last legs. Carlos Ruiz is barely a back-up catcher. Both are in their last seasons with the Phils.

Chase Utley somehow managed to snag a one-year deal with the Dodgers, but his time is nearly over as well. Brett Myers and Brad Lidge have retired. Pat Burrell is a scout now. Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino are barely holding on.

Only Cole Hamels is still in his prime, playing now for the Texas Rangers, the No. 2 starter on a team that has a great shot at winning a title. Other than that, the sun has set on most of our heroes.

Yessir, 2008 was a long time ago. Makes me want to pop in my World Series VHS video into the 'ol VCR and re-watch a little ancient history.

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