According to numerous reports, the Twins are about to sign 37 year old free agent infielder Jamey Carroll to a two year $7 million deal pending a physical. The Twins front office states that have no comment. La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune also has reported that there is a potential for a third year (2014) for $2 million if Carroll makes at least 401 plate appearances in 2013 but it is a players option and Carroll can turn it down. Carroll has been in the majors since 2002 and has played for the Expos, Nationals, Rockies, Indians, and for the last two seasons, the LA Dodgers. Carroll is primarily a middle infielder but can play 3B and the corner outfields spots in a pinch.
Carroll has never has a starting position for an entire season and the most at bats he has ever had in a season is 463, but on the plus side, his name has not appeared on the Dodgers diasabled list in either of the last two seasons.
Everything I have seen in print to this point indicates that Carroll will play shortstop but I don’t see that happening. Sure he will play some short but he will not be the Twins starting shortstop in 2012, that position remains to be filled. My thinking is that GM Ryan acquired Carroll to play 2B and fill in at SS and 3B as needed. Ryan has always been a big fan of Alexi Casilla so it surprises me a little to see him acquire Jamey Carroll.
I don’t care for this deal because it is guaranteed for two years and Jamey Carroll will be 38 years old before the 2011 begins. I see Carroll as a “steady Eddie” type of player who is there every day, can make the routine plays day in and day out and has a decent stick but with no power. Carroll is the type of player that a contending team picks up to fill a hole so why does a team coming off 99 losses go after Carroll? Most of the Twins bloggers seem to favor this deal but I wonder what their thoughts would have been if this signing was consummated under GM Bill Smith versus under Terry Ryan.
The Twins did announce that they had re-signed Brian Dinkelman to a minor league deal. Dinkelman had made his major league debut this past season with Minnesota and appeared 23 games splitting his time between 2B and the outfield. The Twins also signed free agent RHP Jared Burton. Burton is 30 and has pitched for the Cincinnati Reds off and on in relief since 2007. Burton fits in perfectly with the Twins love affair with big pitchers, he is 6’5″ and goes about 230. Burton throws a fastball in the low 90’s along with a cutter, a slider and a change-up. Burton has a career record of 10-3 with a 3.41 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. In 169 big league innings, Burton has given up only 151 hits to go along with his 143 strike-outs and he does a decent job of keeping the ball in the ballpark with a home run rate of 0.7 per 9 innings. Burton is the second former Reds pitcher to be acquired by the Twins in the last couple of weeks. The Twins claimed the 27 year old LHP Matt Maloney off waivers on October 31. Maloney is 6’4″ and about 210 but is a soft tossing, pitch to contact pitcher who was used primarily in relief for the Reds but he did start a couple of games. The Twins also claimed reliever Jeff Gray from Seattle on the same day. Looks like the Twins are getting ready for a competitive spring training with lots of players to choose from.
UPDATE as of November 16 – The Twins signed free agent shortstop Jamey Carroll to a two-year, $6.75 million contract in a deal that was formally announced today.