Published on November 12th, 2011 | by Thompson0
Jamey Carroll Signs as Twins Starting Shortstop
The Minnesota Twins and Jamey Carroll have agreed to a 2 year deal worth around $7 million, with a $2 million player option for 2014. Carroll is expected to start at shortstop with Tsuyoshi Nishioka’s struggles, but could also backup second base, third base, and even play outfield. The addition of Carroll is Terry Ryan’s first major free agent signing since becoming Twins GM after Bill Smith’s firing.
I think this move shows Twins fans that Ryan is very serious about competing now. Of course, this means my hopes of a Nick Punto returnare now dashed, but signing Carroll not only provides a bat in the second hole of the lineup, but a sure-handed, durable shortstop. Carroll hasn’t posted an on-base percentage lower than .355 in the last 4 years, which makes him perfect for the Twins lineup with Mauer and Morneau, hopefully, batting behind him. Carroll had a .290/.359/.347 line last season while playing 146 games and striking out just 58 times in 510 plate appearances.
With at least $3 million spent on Carroll this season, Ryan has about $27 million to throw around now, and he continues to proclaim that his biggest offseason target is Michael Cuddyer. Cuddyer has met with the Red Sox and Phillies already, and with Jim Thome signing with Philly, Cuddyer could follow suit. Ryan should continue persuing Cuddyer, but he knows his limits, and Cuddyer is going to make $10 million next season. I sincerely think Ryan’s simply saying the things we as Twins fans need to hear before we find out Cuddyer has left town. We need to hear that the Twins were active in negotiations and just couldn’t provide the contract Cuddyer demanded. Focus will quickly shift to the very available Jason Kubel, and the Twins will have saved nearly $5 million on a right fielder that has higher potential and an affordable, trade-friendly contract. Not that I want to trade Kubel…it just comes in handy and creates interesting speculation around the trade deadline.
The bottom line is Ryan scored on this deal. Carroll can succeed in Minnesota’s lineup and brings some welcomed stability up the middle defensively. Most importantly, he’s cheap. At just $3.5 million a year we’re now paying just $6.5 million for our platoon at short. And if the injury bug bites Carroll in the ass next season, we still have a backup determined to prove himself. You can’t lose…unless, of course, they both get hurt.