• Jamey Carroll Might Be Best Option

    Terry Ryan says the Twins arenít going to be able to buy themselves out of this funk theyíre in. Heís absolutely right, especially when it comes to second base, where the Twins OPS ranks 29th in the majors. Because there is almost nothing to buy.Jamey Carroll trying to get on base.

    The free agent market for middle infielders is often limited, but this yearís market for second basemen is especially sparse. I count one starter Ė Torontoís Kelly Johnson. Johnson is 31 years old, has a 692 OPS and is slightly below average fielding (according to UZR). And heís the class of this group.


    There are several who have found their way into a bench job, including Jeff Baker (DET), Adam Kennedy (LAD), Jeff Keppinger (TB), Maicer Izturis (LAA) and Ryan Theriot (SFG). I find Keppinger the most interesting, slightly above Izturis. With the Rays, the 33-year-old Keppinger has hit awfully well but has been slightly below average defensively. And for his career (over 2300 AB) he has a .336 OBP.

    Everyone else has either been designated for assignment or hurt or both or retiring. Itís thin gruel.

    With those options, ones thoughts canít help but turn to Jamey Carroll, who only has a 626 OPS but at least is getting on base at a .334 clip. The bigger concern might be that if he reaches 401 at-bats next year, then 2014 becomes a player option, albeit one that only pays him $2M.

    Frankly, that looks like a bargain and Carroll looks like a better option than anything Ryan is likely to find on the shelves this winter.
    This article was originally published in blog: Jamey Carroll Might Be Best Option started by John Bonnes
    Comments 20 Comments
    1. JP3700's Avatar
      JP3700 -
      He's probably listed as a SS but Marco Scutaro is a significant upgrade IMO. Career .338 OBP and .725 OPS with no sign of regression. Can play all positions in the infield.. Solid defensively.. almost never strikes out and has enough power to at least be a threat. Would be nice for 2 years til hopefully Rosario is ready and Carroll can be a very solid utility guy without the threat of getting to 400 ABs
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      This is a good analysis, but I am with those who would like to see Mastro be given a chance at 2B to see how he does there.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Brian Dozier will be the best 2B option. SS rightfully ought to be a battle between Florimon and Carroll. I would like the Twins to pay ZERO attention to the MI situation and focus only on starting pitching.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Izturis would be a worth a shot. Extremely good fielder. His bat is decent too. This has been a down year for him, but he's still managing a 82+OPS. He's been very consistent throughout his career and I think 2013 will be a bounce back year for him. He's picked it up after a rough start and his July and August are better to show for it. He's also versatile (can be moved around like Carroll) and not extremely old as a 31 year old. Izturis has only had 400+PAs in a season twice. I wouldn't mind adding Keppinger, but I think Izturis is a better option mainly because of his speed. Similar age and experience but career WARs: MI 9.9 JK 1.4
      I think Izturis would be an upgrade over Carroll, but not Keppinger.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      No time should be spent on the MI situation until the addition of 2 SP has been made.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      John McDonald is the player that concussed Morneau in Toronto. Johnson played for the Diamondbacks when the injury occurred.

      Overall, your point is a good one. Carroll will be overpaid next year, but not by a whole lot when you look at it in this context.
    1. twinstalker's Avatar
      twinstalker -
      Yeah, the Twins middle infield situation is really crap. Carroll, if he plays like this year (which isn't a given), is ideally a utility guy but may have to start. I think Dozier is a nice bridge to something at shortstop, but the Twins might not have that something. It's really sad they didn't have a shot at Correa.

      Personally, I'm optimistic that Dozier will be an okay shortstop, and I'm hopeful that Levi Michael will be good. Dozier, I believe, will most certainly be MLB-worthy, but you can't as an organization automatically expect even a 25 yr old to jump to MLB after a half-season at AA. Why the Twins are willing to judge a prospect as ready after only seeing him hit straight fastballs through most of spring training is a wonder to me. Dozier should have been at AAA until he proved it wasn't challenging, which I believe he would have by now. The Twins crossed their fingers (once again) with him, and since he never was Manny Machado or Jurickson Profar, the expected outcome occurred. I think he'll be okay, but who knows how much development time was lost by putting him in over his head.

      Michael's first season has seeming been disappointing, but there are a few reasons to be optimistic. First, he is getting his first long-term exposure to wood bats at the hiA level in a pitcher's league. For top prospects, he's age appropriate without the benefit of a short-season or loA buildup. On June 1 Michael's on-base pct, the stat that will most define him, was .298. However, in June it was .357 and in July it was .366. This tells me he's caught up to the league, and while the Twins may want him to show he's too good for A+ by having him start there again in 2013, I think he'll soon enough be in AA. Whether Michael stays at short I'm not sure. He seems a natural MLB 2B, but if Rosario can stick at 2B, Michael will have to play short with the Twins.

      I can see the Twins with a decent middle infield three years from now (Rosario, Dozier, Michael), but more likely they'll be searching to fill one of those spots.
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      John McDonald is the player that concussed Morneau in Toronto. Johnson played for the Diamondbacks when the injury occurred.

      Overall, your point is a good one. Carroll will be overpaid next year, but not by a whole lot when you look at it in this context.
      Doh! You're right. My bad. Fixed.
    1. birdwatcher's Avatar
      birdwatcher -
      Last off-season, Ryan fixed the lineup and the bullpen without depleting the prospect pipeline. He did this without trades, mostly because of a lack of trade chips. A good draft position allowed them to quite significantly upgrade the talent pool in the system.

      This off-season, he has a chance to fix the rotation (two #2-3 starters, please!) and one of the MI positions via trade. He has the trade chips now. The rest of my wish list is another solid draft and an even more aggressive international signing season. Once again, Ryan can do all this while continuing to significantly improve the farm system.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      From 20000 feet away, if you look at the 12 regulars (I am including all of Casilla, Dozier, Carroll and Mastroianni as regulars at this point) only the middle infielders have OPS+ less than 100. I can live with this and a team can win with this, if they play good defense.

      On the other hand the rotation needs major improvement and that is where efforts should be focused (and maybe an extra arm in the pen to replace Capps)

      Now if you are going to move Span and Morneau, the story might change a bit, but from what Mastroianni and Parmelee have shown, there might not be much of a drop off. The places I am mostly concerned about drop off is 3B (is Plouffe a fluke and what about that thumb?) and at LF (Willingham has a career year at 33, can he stay up there....) So really, by itself, middle infield is not much of an issue. In the big picture of things, it could be...
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      I'd personally try to make a trade for Jed Lowrie, shoudln't take a whole lot and he does have team control for a few years. He is a risk injury wise, but I think at worst he becomes a part time solid contributor for the team. And the Astros need minor league depth at this point, could prob get him for a 20-30 prospect or two.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      Quote Originally Posted by shanewahl View Post
      Brian Dozier will be the best 2B option. SS rightfully ought to be a battle between Florimon and Carroll. I would like the Twins to pay ZERO attention to the MI situation and focus only on starting pitching.
      Amen. Lets get some pitching in here. In Sept. try Floriman and Dozier in middle IF both positions. I am beginning to wonder (I do this every year at this time) if Alexi isnt the answer at 2B--he can play the D and every so often gets a big hit--then I start thinking he is the answer.
    1. COtwin's Avatar
      COtwin -
      Jamey Carroll Might Be Best Option

      Isn't there some kind of rule on this site about vulgar language?

      2B is Dozier and Florimon starts season at SS. We already know what Carroll can do, or Scutaro or (insert journeyman with Hobbit Hole ceiling). Shoot I wouldn't mind seeing Mastro try second out in the next few weeks.
    1. Montecore's Avatar
      Montecore -
      Is Itzuris really any better than Carroll? He (Itzuris) gets moved around a lot. More or less an indication that no one believes in him. Carroll is a utility player, yes, but, he has certain positive intangibles. You could do a lot worse.
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      P-I-T-C-H-I-N-G..................or none of this discussion matters, and it matters very little anyway with regard to wins.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Quote Originally Posted by Montecore View Post
      Is Itzuris really any better than Carroll? He (Itzuris) gets moved around a lot. More or less an indication that no one believes in him. Carroll is a utility player, yes, but, he has certain positive intangibles. You could do a lot worse.
      They are pretty close. Izturis is marginally better for power and speed. Carroll is marginally better at fielding and getting on base. It's not a knock on Carroll. I'd just rather have two of him when you look at what else there now. Casilla (gone), Dozier (worst SS this season), Florimon (career minor leaguer), and Escobar (?). These are the two most important positions in the field and it's time the Twins treat them as such.
    1. one_eyed_jack's Avatar
      one_eyed_jack -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinsnorth49 View Post
      P-I-T-C-H-I-N-G..................or none of this discussion matters, and it matters very little anyway with regard to wins.
      ---No doubt pitching is the #1 concern. By far. But this discussion is not wholly irrelevant to that. Certainly, pitching can be helped or hurt at lot by how good or bad the defense played behind it is. If you've got to extra outs all the time, it makes the job of the pitcher that much tougher.
    1. mbents's Avatar
      mbents -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinsnorth49 View Post
      P-I-T-C-H-I-N-G..................or none of this discussion matters, and it matters very little anyway with regard to wins.
      While I agree that pitching is most important, there's still something to be said for run prevention. I like the Marco Scutaro idea, but he's making 6 million this year, so he might be a little too expensive.
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      Quote Originally Posted by mbents View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by twinsnorth49 View Post
      P-I-T-C-H-I-N-G..................or none of this discussion matters, and it matters very little anyway with regard to wins.
      While I agree that pitching is most important, there's still something to be said for run prevention. I like the Marco Scutaro idea, but he's making 6 million this year, so he might be a little too expensive.
      Agreed but decent pitching on this team will translate into more wins than what Doziers defense would cost us, especially if he can half ass get on base.
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinsnorth49 View Post
      P-I-T-C-H-I-N-G..................or none of this discussion matters, and it matters very little anyway with regard to wins.
      Runs are runs, either scored or saved.

      Again the echoes of the Hardy trade ring true: he was the best SS to grace the lineup in what, 20 years? Pft, gone.

      Even league average SS's don't grow on trees. Everyone knows that, even the Cubs.

      The FO needs to go, top to bottom.
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