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.