After a day full of hilarious “Jamey Carroll is close to signing with someone but no one knows who, so it could be the Blue Jays, Braves, Blackhawks, Knicks, or Real Madrid” rumors, we’ve finally learned the truth: he’s headed to the Twins on a two-year deal worth $7m, likely to be their everyday shortstop. After the far inferior Willie Bloomquist picked up $3.85m from Arizona (and turned down a reported $4.6m from the Giants), there was no question that Carroll was going to get in the $7-8m range, so good on him for picking up a nice payday.
Let’s also take this time to be very, very happy that the Dodgers had Carroll for the last two years, and not the next two. For $3.85m – and I’ll admit I wasn’t too certain about guaranteeing that second year at the time – Carroll provided the Dodgers with 924 plate appearances of a .368 OBP, good for a 99 OPS+. Considering his positional flexibility and life-saving (and unexpected) ability to step in at shortstop when Rafael Furcal kept breaking down, he earned his salary and then some in value gained by the Dodgers. For all the negativity we send towards Ned Colletti, this ended up being a superb signing on his part, so let’s not hold back the rare credit he deserves.
As for the Twins? Well, look, I get that this is where the market is going, but while Carroll as a utility guy and backup shortstop option as needed is fantastic, Carroll as your top choice for shortstop – while doubling his salary entering his age-38 season – is somewhat terrifying. In the last fifty years, exactly five shortstops have played enough to qualify for a batting title at 38 or older. Two of those – Luis Aparicio & Ozzie Smith – are Hall of Famers, and the other three – Barry Larkin, Maury Wills, and Omar Vizquel – have varying cases for consideration. Somehow, I’m not betting on Carroll to break that trend, though best of luck to him in trying. For once, I’m glad that it seems the Dodgers got in and got out at the right time.
Speaking of the crazy offseason that we’ve been discussing here for a few days, the Phillies had agreed to a 4/$44m contract with Ryan Madson, which most people found laughable. The deal fell through for reasons we still don’t understand. So what do the Phillies do? They turn around and sign Jonathan Papelbon for 4/$50m, plus an easily attained vesting option that could push the total value over $60m – plus it’ll likely cost them a draft pick that Madson wouldn’t have. It’s not like Ruben Amaro hasn’t made crazy signings before, but maybe we shouldn’t be too upset that Colletti might not have the financial power right now that we might have otherwise liked.