Twins Sign Infielder Jamey Carroll

11 Nov

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I never like when a team signs a player who is older than I am, and Jamey Carroll is over a year older than I am. He will be 38 years old in mid-February. However, I have to say that I am really good with the Twins signing Carroll. (pending physical, I assume, which should happen in the coming days) Carroll is a rare example of a player who did not debut in the big leagues until he was 28 years old late in the 2002 season. Since 2003, he has played at least 93 games each season. Although he has never been known as an everyday player, he has played most every day.

His 10 year big league career batting line is an impressive .278/.356/.348 (.704). Certainly nothing to write home about, but he is a middle infielder with no power. He’s got 12 career home runs. So no, he won’t be an OPS guy.

More important, in my mind, are his past two seasons in Los Angeles with the Dodgers. He has played in 133 and 146 games. He accumulated 414 and 510 plate appearances. And he combined to hit .290/.368/.344 with 40 doubles, 22 triples and four home runs.

In 2010, he played 69 games at shortstop, 48 games at 2B, 11 games at 3B and 5 games in left field. In 2011, he played 81 games at 2B and 66 games at shortstop. He is a solid defensive players in the middle infield, and frankly, ‘solid’ is a gigantic improvement for the Twins infield over 2010.

I think that $7 million for 2 years is a little high. Then again, I see him as a better offensive version of Nick Punto. Maybe that’s why the contract is scary, especially for a 38 year old. At the same time, giving him that kind of contract assures that he will be starting at shortstop (assuming the Twins will stand by Alexi Casilla at 2B).

At the end of the day, I like the signing. I like the solid, steady play of Carroll. He’s not elite, and that’s fine. But if he’s the team’s shortstop most days in 2012, he will help the Twins pitching staff. He’s solid defensively, he is a good singles hitter who also gets on base at a good clip. He is a veteran. He does have versatility. He is an older version of Clint Barmes who will likely cost quite a bit less than Barmes for pretty equivalent play. Barmes may have a little more power in his bat, but with Target Field being the home field 81 games a year, I don’t think that it is a huge distinction.

Also, with Brian Dozier waiting in the wings, likely ready for big league action by July, it gives the Twins options. If the Twins brass believes that Dozier can play SS every day, Carroll can very easily slip over to 2B and Casilla can become the team’s utility infielder, a position that he is likely best suited for.   

I like the Carroll signing. It isn’t huge, but it is a good move for a team that is looking to improve itself. What do you think? Feel free to comment.


12 Responses to “Twins Sign Infielder Jamey Carroll”

  1. scot November 12, 2011 at 12:42 am #

    Whatever, a stop gap signing that should have been for ONE year if not at all.

    • Gary November 12, 2011 at 1:21 am #

      Typical Ryan under the radar move. I certainly hope it works out better than the signings of Tejeda & Renteria did for their teams in 2011. Unless they buy out Nishi, or exile him to Rochester for 2012, he will be at second and Casilla will be the utility infielder. And for the amount of money Casilla will command in arbitration to be a utility infielder, don’t be surprised if he is either traded or non-tendered in favor of a cheaper option. And, although I hope this is not the case, that could bring Punto back to the team.

  2. dave November 12, 2011 at 8:05 am #

    I’m okay with the move, as long as it is the first of many and dozier gets his shot quickly. But I fear the return of the puntzer is inevitable.

  3. Pat McGauley November 12, 2011 at 8:28 am #

    I question beginning a rebuilding program with an ‘old’ man. But, like you and most other fans, we’ve gotta trust Terry Ryan’s judgement. Hopefully Dozier will flourish in AAA.

  4. Matt in VA November 12, 2011 at 8:42 am #

    Good write-up on Carroll. However, I am higher on Casilla than some of the people on this board. When he was in the lineup I really felt the Twins were a much better team offensively. Plus he’s decent with the glove. Keeping him in the lineup is of course easier said than done, but I would have no problem with him being penciled in as the opening day second baseman.

  5. rhobbs November 12, 2011 at 9:29 am #

    Seth the saddest day in a man’s life is when he realizes he is too old to play in the Show. (: Thank God for Jamie Moyer!!

    • DH in Philly November 14, 2011 at 8:51 am #

      I’m essentially the same age as Charlie Lea. Talk about sad days.

  6. Zach November 12, 2011 at 10:12 am #

    I am very low on Carroll after having watched him for years against us. I see him as pretty worthless at this point. That said, it’s Ryan trying to produce short term stability in the middle infield. I can understand that and obviously we have no choice but to sit back with a little hope it works.

    Because of the temporary nature of the move, temporary being two years (ick), I can only presume Ryan sees someone taking over the position within the organization in Carroll’s time frame.

    Clint Barmes would have been fun to watch, I think. As long as he didn’t trip on the stairs carrying groceries again.

  7. Bob R November 12, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    I am good with the signing. One, even with his age he has been consistent, healthly player last few years. Two, he should have a positive, veteran influence on our young players (Plouffe, Valencia, Dozier, etc.). Three, I believe his signing says Ryan believes Dozier will be the long term answer at SS. Ryan had positive things to say about Dozier in an interview earlier this week. He had open eyes last year at 2AA & now in the Arizona fall league. He felt though it would be too much to ask for him to be starting SS out of spring training. He needed some time at 3AAA level before getting an opportunity at the ML level. Bottom line there is hope in the short term & long term to fill Twins huge hole at SS.

  8. Nate November 12, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

    Hey, Seth, sorry to split hairs, but I think you had a typo in your numbers. Carroll had a total of 29 doubles, 7 triples, and 0 homers in his last two seasons, not 40, 22, and 4. If he had 22 triples in two years, I think he would have cost a lot more than $3.5 million per year.

    Other than that, I agree with everything you said. Carroll is a great transitional shortstop. He can hold down the fort until Dozier is ready for the Show. If Dozier flops, Carroll can play until Levi Michael or some other young SS can take over.

  9. IronMike November 12, 2011 at 11:01 pm #

    For what it’s worth, my brother who has worked for the Dodgers AAA team, been an assistant college baseball coach in Colorado and a life long Dodger fan had the following opinion on Carroll. He’s better at 2B than SS. He’s been his favorite player with the Dodgers. He plays the game how it should be played. He plays hard and runs everything out. He would have liked him to resign but with no owner there’s not much you can do.

    • Mark November 14, 2011 at 2:42 am #

      I see Carroll as our 2B and giving Dozier the SS job out of Spring Training.

      I think it will be a huge mistake for the Twins to open the season with anyone other than Dozier at short. The Twins current approach to minor league development needs to change, at least in the near term, because we need to rebuild.

      “Rushing” players up the minor leagues is not always a mistake. Kirby Puckett, Kent Hrbek, Gary Gaetti, and Frank Viola are examples of players that the Twins “rushed” in their early 1980’s rebuilding and I believe that the results speak for themselves. AS I have pointed out in these comments before, using the Twins one step at a time approach would have meant that in 1984, the year Hrbek was runner up in the AL MVP voting, he would just be entering AAA baseball.

      The reason that worked is that the team was rebuilding. They could bring up a bunch of young players and have them all fail together. The 1982 Twins season was about as terrible as can be imagined. But what would be even more terrible would be to miss the chance at rebuilding all for the sake of mediocrity.

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