Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Desperate for defense, Twins overpaid to get Carroll

Posted by: Phil Miller under MLB, Twins offense Updated: November 16, 2011 - 10:18 AM

MILWAUKEE -- The Twins officially announced today that they've signed infielder Jamey Carroll to a two-year deal with a mutual option for 2014.

The guaranteed money in the deal is $6.75 million. La Velle had the specific contract details in this piece last week.

Many in the industry believe the Twins overpaid to get Carroll, who turns 38 in February. Other teams such as the Rockies were looking at him as a second baseman.

Carroll will come to spring training in February with an understanding that the Twins shortstop job is basically his to lose.

Make no mistake, Carroll is a better second baseman than shortstop, but the Twins were determined to add a sure-handed shortstop for 2012, after watching Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Trevor Plouffe and Alexi Casilla struggle there last season.

Plouffe is moving to the outfield. If Nishioka puts his broken leg ordeal behind him and wows the Twins next spring, it's possible he could regain the shortstop job with Carroll moving to second base.

The Twins like Casilla, but they're not guaranteeing him anything. He never has played more than 98 games in a season and hasn't been consistently good for more than three months in any stretch of his career.

If the competition brings out the best in Nishioka and Casilla, Carroll also could move to third base, where he would push Danny Valencia.

Bottom line: The Twins overpaid to get Carroll but he's a sure-handed option at three positions for a team desperate to improve its infield defense. He's also a righthanded hitter with a .356 career on-base percentage, making him a potential fit for the No. 2 spot in their batting order.

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