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What should Jamey Carroll's role be?

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#1 John Bonnes

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 11:21 PM

Mike Berardino wrote up a story about Jamey Carroll's unlikely tenure in the major leagues today. It included some thoughts by Gardy that mimic mine....

"I don't really worry about Jamey Carroll," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He knows how to play. He can play anywhere. He's a very good utility guy, but if the other guys don't get it done, we can use Jamey, too."


The ironic think about Carroll being a "utility guy" is that he's certainly the best of the four candidates for the middle infield spots. I'd like to be critical of Gardy apparently leaning towards the other three, but the truth is there isn't a great (or good, or even tenable) solution here. My top priority is probably giving Brian Dozier more time at AAA, so almost by definition, that means Pedro Florimon starts at SS (cringe), Jamey Carroll is at second base and Escobar is my bench utility guy.

I guess tabbing Carroll as the "utility guy" for now is fine, because the chances of either Florimon and Dozier going down in flames this spring or early this season is about 120%. Let them compete with each other, and give Carroll the cleanup.

#2 Badsmerf

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 11:54 PM

Outside of Dozier I don't see any of them playing any better than terrible. Carroll should start at SS and Dozier at 2b. Shame on the Twins for not even providing enough depth at the MI to compete with Jamey Carroll or Brian Dozier...
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#3 Shane Wahl

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 12:30 AM

Outside of Dozier I don't see any of them playing any better than terrible. Carroll should start at SS and Dozier at 2b. Shame on the Twins for not even providing enough depth at the MI to compete with Jamey Carroll or Brian Dozier...


Exactly. I don't get the turn away from Carroll at short and also the complete absence in September of Dozier at second base. It is ESCOBAR who clearly needs the time in AAA.

#4 glunn

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 02:09 AM

I have read some positive analysis about Dozier in other threads and it seems to me that he might be decent this year. If he can just hit better than Casilla, that would be an improvement over last year.

#5 mike wants wins

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 07:40 AM

Backup. This season is about finding out what they have or so not have for the future, not starting guys only a decade or so younger than me.

#6 TheLeviathan

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 07:52 AM

Professionally scaring children seems like his best suited role. Unless we're strictly talking baseball.....

#7 beckmt

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 08:20 AM

Twins probably do not want to pick up Carroll's option unless they have to. That speaks for the other 3 to get the playing time until they prove they cannot handle the major leagues. Good news is that the farm system is coming, if not next year than 2015 for the middle infield.

#8 stringer bell

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 08:45 AM

While Carroll may be the better player than all of the other options, he's also 39 and has always been limited by his lack of power. He doesn't really belong on a rebuilding team except as a mentor. That said, if two of the three of Escobar, Dozier, and Florimon prove that they are not prospects, then Carroll should play. I would think that Carroll would be an asset on a contending team as a utility guy so maybe he could be peddled for something as useful, but a decade or two younger.

#9 Seth Stohs

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 09:12 AM

I got the chance to talk to Carroll at Twins Fest. He has a definite goal, and that is to play when he's 40... so he has to get into next season.

As for what Gardy is doing this spring, I think it completely makes sense. They know that Carroll can play all three positions well. He takes quality at bats. He is what he is and he can start any day.

But, Gardy wants to see Florimon at SS And Dozier at 2B, and he should give them as much time as possible to see if they can start and what they can be. I think that's the right strategy.

I think Escobar will be starting at SS after Florimon gets benched/released/sent down. I believe that he will be a long-term utility guy with the Twins. Very good glove at three positions, and he has enough bat to be a utility guy and part time starter. People forget, likely because he was in the big leagues for the White Sox all of last season until the trade, that he is still quite young.

Again, my point on Dozier isn't that he is a future All-Star 2B (I ranked him 10th or 11th a year ago after his big year at AA). I just think he can be a solid regular, and I think the Twins and their fans would happily take that. I believe Escobar can be another in the Twins long-line of quality utility infielders (Newman, Reboulet, Hocking, Punto), who can also start for a period of time when necessary. And, I certainly am a fan of Jamey Carroll and what he is as a ball player.

#10 jorgenswest

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 09:35 AM

I agree with Seth on all 4.

i think there will be another guy in the mix also. The end of spring always makes available several players who are out of options. The Twins should be looking for a middle infielder or fourth outfielder among those designated for assignment.

#11 drjim

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 09:46 AM

I think it starts with Dozier at 2b, Florimon at ss, Carroll as utility and Escobar in aaa. I don't understand why a few people would want Dozier back in aaa, he has had enough at bats down there, and with the low expectations for the team it is a perfect time to see if he can handle an everyday job. He is already 25 and almost 26.

Even with a decent glove I don't see how Florimon lasts very long. Carroll will be a nice steady backup to have. I also agree with Seth that Escobar will probably end up as a solid utility guy but he could probably use some everyday at bats at aaa to see if he might be able to squeeze out a little more.

I also wouldn't sleep on Daniel Santana this year. Both Ryan and Antony mentioned him unsolicited in recent interviews as someone they are high on, and that he is a little more put together than people might think and can stick at ss. He'll start in aa but could be a September callup and might be ready to step in next year as an everyday player.
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#12 Physics Guy

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 09:47 AM

I also agree with Seth's take. Carroll is a veteran who is capable of stepping in at any time and providing decent performance. You know what you are getting from him, but he is 39 and he probably shouldn't be getting more than 400 AB. It's been my impression that young guys do not know how to handle intermittent playing time. They either need to be playing or in AAA. Veterans know how to handle it and often thrive on it when they get up in years. Thome would be a good example. He gave the Twins great production as long as they didn't play him too often. Carroll obviously isn't in as much danger of breaking down as Thome was, but I still think he benefits from not playing every day.

#13 Jim H

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 09:48 AM

Mike Berardino wrote up a story about Jamey Carroll's unlikely tenure in the major leagues today. It included some thoughts by Gardy that mimic mine....


"I don't really worry about Jamey Carroll," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He knows how to play. He can play anywhere. He's a very good utility guy, but if the other guys don't get it done, we can use Jamey, too."


The ironic think about Carroll being a "utility guy" is that he's certainly the best of the four candidates for the middle infield spots


I don't know that I agree with John's assertion that Carroll is certainly the best of the 4. He is a solid, older utility guy. I think there is at least some reasonable chance that any or even perhaps all 3 of the others, could be a big league regular at short or 2nd. Carroll never really was, even last year, he basically showed that he was a very good utility guy. He looked stretched when forced to play every day.

John could be right, the other 3 might very well prove to be no better than utility guys, but I think it is too early to make that claim. Even if that is all they turn out to be, it doesn't necessarily mean they are or will be worse than Carroll.

It always surprises me how quick people are to dismiss prospects when they don't immediately live up to expectations. People were calling Span a failure long before he reached the big leagues. I remember reading last spring those who thought Plouffe should be released. While John and many others could be right about the middle infield candidates this spring, I would like to see what they do with an extended opportunity. It is not like there are a lot of other options or that Carroll really deserves another chance to prove he is more than a utility guy.

#14 twinsnorth49

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 11:50 AM

I also believe Escobar is far more interesting at SS than Florimon and will ultimately see more time there, with Carroll splitting his duties between there and 2B. Not that I think Escobar is an everyday player but weighing the options the team has now, he just might be the better candidate and cold serve as a more useful utility player down the road, as others have stated.

I'm not sure Carroll is even out to prove he is more than a utility player, at 39 and still playing in the majors, I don't think he really has anything to prove, I'm pretty sure he understands hi role.

#15 drjim

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 11:57 AM

I also thought in the offseason when there was a clamoring for another middle infielder that whoever they brought in would have to be clearly better than Carroll to make it worth it. Based on who was available as FAs I'm not so sure there was a clear upgrade available. Carroll is solid in the role he has and is an acceptable stopgap if Florimon and others flop.
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#16 Badsmerf

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 04:44 PM

What more of Florimon do people need to see? I can kinda see wanting to see Escobar, but he was overmatched last season and doesn't really have past results to show he will ever cut it. Span is a terrible example, he at least had documented tools and was turning the corner in aaa. I really hope Santana develops, because there is little hope in FA next season. Just because a guy is young doesn't mean they will ever get better. Plus, those guys aren't even that great defensively (haven't seen much of Escobar to judge). I guess in the long run it doesn't matter and will figure itself out, just don't expect to see much development out of Florimon or Escobar. Unbelievable the Twins didn't bring anyone in to even compete for a spot. Let them play the young guys over Carroll to start, just provides more incompetent baseball.

#17 Thrylos

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 05:02 PM

I think that a rebuilding team cannot afford to have a 39 year old starter in any particular position. It is ok to have him around to rest the other guys and start across the infield 3-4 times a week.

I really have no opinion on who should be the starting middle infielders (mainly because nobody sticks out from this bunch.) Let all 4 40-man players (Dozier, Escobar, Florimon, Santana) fight for it (maybe include Beresford from the non-roster invitees but not 31 year old Olmedo) and let the best 2 win.
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#18 mnfanforlife

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 05:11 PM

Backup. This season is about finding out what they have or so not have for the future, not starting guys only a decade or so younger than me.


Yes. excellent. agreed

#19 TwinsMusings

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 08:33 PM

Based on the likelihood the Twins will open the season with 13 position players, and assuming they keep two or three catchers and four or five outfielders, there is room for six infielders. Unless an injury or unexpected event occurs during spring training, it looks like Morneau, Plouffe, Carroll, Dozier, Escobar and Florimon will be the six. From all I have read about the middle infield situation, including comments from Terry Ryan and Ron Gardenhire, I expect Florimon will start the season at SS and Dozier at 2B with Carroll and Escobar as utility players.


I think, especially at his age, Jamey Carroll's best role is as a utility infielder. Because he is so solid defensively, I would use him as the primary backup for 2B and 3B leaving SS to Escobar as the first in if Florimon falters or is rested. By mid-season we should know more about the younger players – which ones will succeed and which will show they are not ready or major league material. I won’t speculate too much in this thread about those younger guys, but will say I have my doubts about all three.


With regard to Carroll, I think we are going to see the Twins management doing whatever they can to limit his plate appearance so as not to automatically trigger his option. If the Twins are miraculously in the hunt at the trade deadline, that probably will be at least in part because one or both of Florimon or Dozier is/are performing well above expectations and Carroll will most likely be serving as a utility guy, so his time can be limited. The only way he is starting regularly is if Dozier or Plouffe is out an extended time with an injury. If the Twins are out of contention, it would make some sense to trade Carroll to a contender who needs a solid utility guy to strengthen a roster for the pennant run (and let that team worry about the plate appearance trigger). If the Twins are in full rebuild mode by mid-season, having a veteran utility guy taking a roster spot that could be used for a younger player, does not make much sense. So, my prediction is Carroll will serve well the first half of the season as a utility player, but will not finish the season with the Twins and he will be a free agent in search of a team in 2014 so he can play at age 40. He will probably still be good enough to latch on to a contender looking for a solid veteran presence on the bench, and I hope for his sake he gets that chance.

#20 John Bonnes

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 10:24 PM

I must not be clear about my point on Dozier and Carroll. I'll summarize:

I think Dozier can be a starting shortstop in the majors, at least for a short period of time while he's cheap. But last year he was overwhelmed in the majors, and overwhelmed in AAA, too, where he only had 200 AB. He needs time in AAA to develop. Then promote him and stick with him through some tough times. That time is not now. He's not ready. He has done NOTHING to prove he is ready.

Carroll is a borderline guy - a great utility guy, a passable starting middle infielder. (He might not be a bad comp for Dozier, though I'm holding some hope Dozier can exceed that level.) I like Carroll. He shouldn't block anyone legitimate, but he's not an embarrassment.

Which brings us to Florimon and Escobar. They aren't going to be passable as anything other than glove-only utility infielders. Neither is ever going to exceed Carroll's current level. Neither has done anything in their minor league history to indicate they can exceed Carroll's current level. I don't see any reason to play either in front of Carroll. The ONLY reason I see to start one of them is to give Dozier time in AAA.

#21 Kwak

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 11:19 PM

Experience at AAA is overrated. Given the paucity of options at MI the Twins should give both Florimon and Dozier their "shot", if one guy stinks--replace him with Escobar and give him his chance. If both (or gag, all three) stink, hit the waiver wire in Summer and finish the season. Carroll is a UT guy, not the "next-in-line". The Twins played the merry-go-round in the infield for so many years with guys: Up/Down, Up/Down, it didn't work then and no reason to think it would work now given the age (mid-20's) of the players. If they fail--sign new people for next season and move on.

#22 glunn

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 11:45 PM

I think that a rebuilding team cannot afford to have a 39 year old starter in any particular position. It is ok to have him around to rest the other guys and start across the infield 3-4 times a week.

I really have no opinion on who should be the starting middle infielders (mainly because nobody sticks out from this bunch.) Let all 4 40-man players (Dozier, Escobar, Florimon, Santana) fight for it (maybe include Beresford from the non-roster invitees but not 31 year old Olmedo) and let the best 2 win.


I like this analysis.

#23 Alex

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 01:05 AM

My hunch is that none of the Twin's current MI will be starting anywhere in two years, and if one of them is still consistently in the majors four years from now, they should out themselves fortunate. I hope I'm wrong about Dozier, or heck, all of them, but these guys have a body of work that is just not impressive and not one of them has a sure starting spot in what is one of the worst MI in the league. It's really amazing when you think about it.

I think Carroll is the best and could start this year, but for reasons other posters mentioned, he should probably be playing as a utility player.

#24 beckmt

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 07:11 AM

I feel that this year and possibly next will be the last two years of the middle infield issue. Hope by that time one of two things happen. Both Santana and Rosario are ready and able to contribe or Twins have gotten good enough to pay for a decent middle infielder at SS, because the rest of the team is ready to contend.

#25 mcrow

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 07:59 AM

I think Carroll's role will largely be defined by how Florimon and Dozier perform this spring. I think if they show they can be semi-competent Carroll will be a off-the-bench utility guy. The problem is that I think sometimes Gardy likes to give players too much of a leash.

#26 jorgenswest

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 10:28 AM

I must not be clear about my point on Dozier and Carroll. I'll summarize:

I think Dozier can be a starting shortstop in the majors, at least for a short period of time while he's cheap. But last year he was overwhelmed in the majors, and overwhelmed in AAA, too, where he only had 200 AB. He needs time in AAA to develop. Then promote him and stick with him through some tough times. That time is not now. He's not ready. He has done NOTHING to prove he is ready.

Carroll is a borderline guy - a great utility guy, a passable starting middle infielder. (He might not be a bad comp for Dozier, though I'm holding some hope Dozier can exceed that level.) I like Carroll. He shouldn't block anyone legitimate, but he's not an embarrassment.

Which brings us to Florimon and Escobar. They aren't going to be passable as anything other than glove-only utility infielders. Neither is ever going to exceed Carroll's current level. Neither has done anything in their minor league history to indicate they can exceed Carroll's current level. I don't see any reason to play either in front of Carroll. The ONLY reason I see to start one of them is to give Dozier time in AAA.


Carroll entering his age 24 season had just finished his age 23 season in A-ball with a slash line of 243/319/295. Escobar is entering his age 24 season with major league time, better minor league numbers and a better defensive reputation. Look at Punto's age 23 season and you will see something similar to Carroll.

It is hard to have hope for Escobar with his performance through age 23, but to state so absolutely that he will never exceed Carroll current level shows little understanding of how a player grows from age 23 towards age 30.

Who is most likely put up better offensive numbers in 2013?

Who is most likely to be an asset to the next Twin playoff team?

The Twins should invest plate appearances into the player they believe is the answer to the second question and trade the other for whatever they can get.

#27 Alex

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 12:04 PM

Who is most likely put up better offensive numbers in 2013?

Who is most likely to be an asset to the next Twin playoff team?

The Twins should invest plate appearances into the player they believe is the answer to the second question and trade the other for whatever they can get.


The answer to #1 is Carroll. I think the answer to #2 is none of the above. The MI needs to be the next issue they address, imo, while continuing to improve starting rotation, but at least there's something in the minors with regard to starters.

#28 jorgenswest

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 04:38 PM

The answer to #1 is Carroll. I think the answer to #2 is none of the above. The MI needs to be the next issue they address, imo, while continuing to improve starting rotation, but at least there's something in the minors with regard to starters.


Unless the Twins assess that this is the next playoff team, it won't be Carroll.

I only have reports of others (Baseball America, Minor League Analyst, Sickels) to describe Escobar's defensive ability. If the reports of his defense at three positions are correct, he will be a valuable member of a baseball team for several years.

The Twins need to find the next Nick Punto or Jamey Carroll. It could be Escobar. If he follows a career path like Punto, Hocking or Carroll, his glove will get him in the league and his bat will make steady progress towards adequate.

I guy like this is not a replacement level player. It is a myth that there a bunch of great glove no hit utility players are in the minors. In the Twins system currently, there may be two guys that profile in this type (Polanco and maybe Santana).

It is worth investing some time in Escobar. If his glove is great, he is valuable now and his bat will get better over time.

#29 Jim H

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 05:42 PM

I must not be clear about my point on Dozier and Carroll. I'll summarize:

I think Dozier can be a starting shortstop in the majors, at least for a short period of time while he's cheap. But last year he was overwhelmed in the majors, and overwhelmed in AAA, too, where he only had 200 AB. He needs time in AAA to develop. Then promote him and stick with him through some tough times. That time is not now. He's not ready. He has done NOTHING to prove he is ready.

Carroll is a borderline guy - a great utility guy, a passable starting middle infielder. (He might not be a bad comp for Dozier, though I'm holding some hope Dozier can exceed that level.) I like Carroll. He shouldn't block anyone legitimate, but he's not an embarrassment.

Which brings us to Florimon and Escobar. They aren't going to be passable as anything other than glove-only utility infielders. Neither is ever going to exceed Carroll's current level. Neither has done anything in their minor league history to indicate they can exceed Carroll's current level. I don't see any reason to play either in front of Carroll. The ONLY reason I see to start one of them is to give Dozier time in AAA.


I see your point of view. You could be right, largely on all of them, although I think Carroll is really past the point of being a passable big league starter.

Just because you could be right, doesn't however, mean that you are or will be right. In Dozier's case, I don't really see much value in AAA. Even if he was rushed, now is his opportunity. If he can field like a big league MI, the Twins can put up with some ups and downs with the bat. Florimon showed in his short look last fall, that he can be a spectacular shortstop. His range and arm are at least the equal of Bartlett and his shortstop instincts seem better. Clearly, he needs to be more consistent, but if he can be, then the Twins will be willing to put up with a weak bat.

Using Carroll to back up both makes sense to me. He will certainly get plenty of starts. If either hits a rough patch or suffers a minor injury, Carroll can hold the fort for awhile. Carroll really reminds me of Denny Hocking. A career utility guy who steady with the glove and could hit a bit, but really wasn't an everyday player.

I don't know if either Florimon or Dozier is an everyday player in the big leagues either. But now is the time to find out. With Micheal, Santana, Rosario, Polanco and Goodrum in the minors, the Twins could find a solid or better starters in the near future. If Florimon and/or Dozier can prove to be big league quality middle leaguers, that has trade value. Even if they are only passable, they can hold the fort till better replacements are ready. If it turns out that they aren't really even Carroll good, well, now is the time to find out.

Edited by Jim H, 24 February 2013 - 05:47 PM.


#30 Thrylos

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 05:43 PM

I guy like this is not a replacement level player. It is a myth that there a bunch of great glove no hit utility players are in the minors. In the Twins system currently, there may be two guys that profile in this type (Polanco and maybe Santana)..


I think Polanco profiles as a potential future starter. So does Amaurys Minier. Goodrum might be close too. But they all are years away at best.
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