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Jamey Carroll is useful, but he’s not a starting shortstop

Nov 11, 2011, 6:09 PM EDT

Jamey Carroll AP

This is really a pretty amazing story, though it’s one that probably won’t have a happy ending.

According to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal and ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the Twins and infielder Jamey Carroll have agreed to terms on a two-year, $7 million contract.

That in itself doesn’t seem like a particularly bad move. However, according to both Rosenthal and Crasnick, the Twins are signing Carroll to serve as an everyday shortstop.

It’ll be the first time in his entire career that Carroll has been anointed an everyday shortstop. He’s never really been an everyday anything. His most career starts at one position in any year was 102 games at second base with the Rockies in 2006. Next after that was 66 games at second base with the Indians in 2008.

And Carroll is turning 38 in February!

Since 1901, there have been a total of 26 seasons in which a shortstop 38 or older has played in at least 100 games. The majority of them were by future Hall of Famers. Five of them were Honus Wagner seasons. Three were Luis Aparicio seasons. The last three were Omar Vizquel seasons. There certainly isn’t a Carroll in the bunch.

So, this is quite an experiment the Twins are undertaking. In their defense, Carroll, who rarely played shortstop prior to 2010, has started 118 games at the position the last two years without embarrassing himself in the least. According to the numbers, he’s been only a bit below average.

But the Twins are betting against history in a big way here. 38-year-olds aren’t typically legitimate shortstops, and Carroll wasn’t very rangey even in his youth. It might be best for the team if Trevor Plouffe solves his errant ways and becomes a legitimate shortstop, allowing Carroll to slide over to second base and start over Tsuyoshi Nishioka there. Carroll might well be pretty decent as a starter at second these next two seasons. At shortstop, he has some long odds to defy.

  1. Francisco (FC) - Nov 11, 2011 at 6:30 PM

    Small Comment, Derek Jeter will be 38 next year in June. So he’ll also add to the starting 38 yeard old SS legacy… and Jeter is a HoF so he’s continuing the trend… Carroll… is bucking it!

  2. btwicey - Nov 11, 2011 at 6:30 PM

    Great sign for them, they need vet presence and need to fill that gaping hole at short, I like it.

  3. Kyle - Nov 11, 2011 at 6:35 PM

    Eh, dude gets on base. He’s no ideal, but I doubt he’s a disaster.

  4. siouxyaya17 - Nov 11, 2011 at 8:25 PM

    The Bill Smith legacy lives on!

  5. randomdigits - Nov 11, 2011 at 8:30 PM

    Jim Hoey and Brett Jacobson.

  6. Bryz - Nov 11, 2011 at 8:33 PM

    Even though I love that the Twins signed Carroll, it wouldn’t surprise me if they end up flipping Casilla and Carroll at the middle infield spots at some point during the ’12 season.

  7. maco88 - Nov 11, 2011 at 11:06 PM

    Dodgers should have kept him. Excellent utility player that can play 2B and SS. However, not an everyday player. Over the course of extended starts, he wore down and his batting average dipped. But off the bench and spot starts he was excellent!

  8. deepstblu - Nov 12, 2011 at 12:37 PM

    I had to check out Luke Appling’s numbers…he missed most of his 38 YO year due to the war, started over 100 games at SS at 39 and 40, split his 41 YO year between short and third, then at 42 went back to SS fulltime. It looks like his range had declined to average or worse by then, but when you hit .301 with 121 walks you can get away with that.

  9. cup0pizza - Nov 12, 2011 at 1:48 PM

    Bad signing….far too much money. Enjoy watching this guy at the plate with men on base, Twins fans.

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