The Twins are closing in on a two-year deal worth $6-7 million with free agent infielder Jamey Carroll, according to a source with the club. The deal won’t be official until Carroll passes a physical.
Carroll was supposed to be a utility player for the Dodgers but was pressed into more service the past couple seasons because of injuries. He hit .291 with a .379 on base percentage in 133 games with the Dodgers in 2010 and .290/.359 in 146 games last season.
Some reports have Carroll as the Twins’ everyday shortstop next season but the final decision belongs to manager Ron Gardenhire. There are indications that the Twins might continue to look for middle infield help.
Carroll’s numbers from last season, however, would easily out produce Twins’ shortstops last season, as Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Trevor Plouffe, Matt Tolbert and Alexi Casilla combined to bat .238 with a .292 on base percentage.
But Carroll isn’t much of a run producer. He had 17 RBI in 510 at-bats last season. Nishioka had 19 RBI in 221 at-bats.
Shortstop was an eyesore last year as Nishioka looked like he was in way over his head. He moved to short from second after suffering a broken leg on Apr. 7 from a hard take-out slide by the Yankees’ Nick Swisher. Plouffe was given a chance to claim the position late in the season but failed to impress. With Carroll in the fold and Casilla expected to start somewhere in the middle infield next season, Plouffe’s best chance to make the team appears to be as a utility player.
The Twins have not had a shortstop appear in more than 100 games in a season since Jason Bartlett appeared in 138 games in 2007. Carroll’s high was 69 games with the Dodgers in 2010.
A report out of Boston has Red Sox officials recently making contact with free agent outfielder Michael Cuddyer.
The Twins have signed righthander Jared Burton and outfielder/infielder Brian Dinkelman to minor league deals with invites to spring training.