Twins about to sign Jamey Carroll to start at shortstop

  • Article by: LA VELLE E. NEAL , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 12, 2011 - 8:53 AM

Jamey Carroll, 37, hit .290 with a .359 on-base percentage in 146 games last season while splitting time between second base and shortstop.

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Jamey Carroll

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The Twins are closing in on a two-year deal with free agent Jamey Carroll, who is being hired to be their starting shortstop and No. 2 hitter.

Two people with knowledge of the situation provided details of the negotiations.

The deal won't be official until Carroll passes a physical, and new Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said the Twins have nothing to announce. The physical will take place Monday or Tuesday, the sources said.

Carroll's contract is for two years and $6.75 million guaranteed. It includes a $250,000 buyout and an option for 2014 that becomes effective if Carroll gets more than 400 at-bats. If he passes that threshold, he can accept $2 million and play for the Twins in 2014 or turn it down and become a free agent.

Carroll, 37, hit .290 with a .359 on-base percentage in 146 games last season and .291 with a .379 on-base percentage in 133 games in 2010. He was supposed to be a utility player but was pressed into more service because of injuries.

Carroll's numbers from last season easily beat those put up by Twins shortstops. 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.

What Carroll has been in recent years is durable, which the Twins need after using the disabled list 27 times last season. He started 57 games at second base, committing five errors, and 54 at short, committing four errors, last season. He mostly played at second after the Dodgers called up shortstop prospect Dee Gordon.

For his career, Carroll has made 430 starts at second, 164 at short.

Carroll is considered a solid but not outstanding defensive player. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire also has Casilla as a possible shortstop, and there are indications that the Twins might continue to look for middle infield help.

Shortstop was a trouble spot last year as Nishioka looked like he was in way over his head. He moved to short from second after suffering a broken leg April 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.

Nishioka will be in a similar situation, and it's likely that he will have to impress during spring training or could be a candidate for Class AAA Rochester.

If Carroll does play short for two seasons, he could be the bridge between present and future, as prospect Brian Dozier made big strides last season and could open the year at Rochester.

Dozier is batting .319 with three homers and 21 RBI in 22 games with the Mesa Solar Sox of the Arizona Fall League.

The Twins have not had a shortstop appear in more than 100 games in a season since Jason Bartlett played in 138 games in 2007. Carroll's high was 69 games with the Dodgers in 2010.

Meanwhile, a report out of Boston has Red Sox officials recently making contact with free-agent outfielder Michael Cuddyer.

Also, the Twins have signed righthander Jared Burton and outfielder/infielder Brian Dinkelman to minor league deals with invites to spring training.

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