It’s no secret around here that I think the Dodgers made a mistake by giving Jamey Carroll two guaranteed years; my post titled “So Everyone Agrees the Dodgers Moved Too Quickly on Jamey Carroll, Right?” saw one of the largest comment totals I’ve seen all season. It’s not that I have any particular problem with Carroll, it’s just that he seems like a poor fit for this club; if you wanted insurance for Blake DeWitt at second base, you could have signed a lefty hitter who can play shortstop as well.
I won’t continue harping on it, since what’s done is done and either way, this decision (hopefully) won’t be what makes or breaks the season. So to put a bow on this topic, let’s quickly discuss the two bits of news regarding this we’ve seen in the last two days…
Felipe Lopez signs with the Cardinals for 1 year, $1m. As I detailed extensively in the post about Carroll linked above, Lopez was a much better choice for this team. He’s a switch hitter; Carroll is righty. He can play shortstop; Carroll really can’t. He’s a far better hitter, and as far as fielding, well, just catch this tidbit from Buster Olney’s blog:
While Lopez likely will be an offensive upgrade over the Cardinals’ second basemen from 2009 — he had an .810 OPS last season versus a .747 OPS for Cardinals second basemen — he also should improve the infield defense. According to fangraphs.com, Lopez had the fifth-highest UZR among MLB second basemen, and he really excelled in his range, where he ranked second among second basemen.
In my earlier article, I said the only reason to not sign Lopez was if you weren’t sure that he’d be okay with possibly accepting a backup or utility role. Judging by his comments in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, it doesn’t sound like that’ll be an issue…
“I can play anywhere. That’s the right answer, right?” Lopez offered after completing a team physical. “I’ll play anywhere. I know this team … is a really good team, so wherever they need me.”
At the time of the Carroll article, we didn’t know how much Lopez would eventually sign for, but it seemed certain that the longer he was out there, the less he would get. In addition to his $1m guaranteed, he’s eligible for $1.2m in incentives, which he can’t fully max out unless he gets 600 plate appearances (which not even Albert Pujols did in St. Louis last year). Yet the Dodgers guaranteed Carroll nearly four times as much what Lopez is guaranteed, over an extra year, for a player who’s older, not as versatile, and a lesser player. Fantastic.
Was the Carroll deal the worst move of the offseason? I don’t think I would go quite that far – I’m still dying over the Brandon Lyon deal – but the fact is, MLBtraderumors asked the question, and he’s in the conversation. This is a deal that seemed okay at best at the time, and just keeps looking worse considering how the market (and the Dodger roster composition) has played out.
Anyway, I’ve said my piece on this more than once, so we’ll consider this case file closed and move on tomorrow.