Jamey Carroll & Exceeding Expectations

Jamey Carroll is having an odd season. At .288/.355/.344 for a middle infielder, he is having a fine year. But he has also struggled with runners in scoring position (.195/.344/.195), and could end up with the fewest single-season RBI in the 128-year history of the Dodgers.

Fewest RBI By A Dodger
Player Year RBI PA
Jamey Carroll 2011 13 477
Dave Roberts 2003 16 440
Tony Smith 1910 16 414
Ivy Olson 1918 17 553
Billy Maloney 1908 17 402
Brett Butler 1997 18 401
Al Burch 1908 18 500
Doc Casey 1907 19 596
Davey Lopes 1976 20 491
minimum 400 PA; source: Baseball-Reference.com

 

Carroll will go down as one of Ned Colletti's best moves. Two years and $3.85 million, plus incentives, before the 2010 season seemed like a lot for a 36-year old utility man, even though Carroll was reportedly offered more money from Oakland. But Carroll has earned every penny, and then some, hitting .289/.366/.342 as a Dodger with his best two seasons in both adjusted OPS and adjusted runs created.

Carroll has accumulated between 4.3 (FanGraphs) and 4.8 (Baseball-Reference) Wins Above Replacement during his tenure as a Dodger, which ranks second (FanGraphs) or third (Baseball-Reference) among position players on the club, depending on how Andre Ethier is valued.

Not bad for somebody I compared to Mark Loretta when Carroll was signed. Playoff game-winning hits aside, Loretta hit .232/.309/.276 as a Dodger in 2009.

Carroll has played mostly up the middle for the Dodgers, filling in at shortstop on several occasions for Rafael Furcal. In fact, since the beginning of last season, Carroll has played nearly as many innings at the position (1,078) as Furcal (1,096) with the Dodgers. Carroll has started 118 games at shortstop, 69 games at second base, eight games at third base, and even five in left field, though Carroll hasn't played the latter two positions this season.

Among Los Angeles Dodgers with at least 500 plate appearances, Carroll's .366 on-base percentage is the 15th highest.

Including bonuses, Carroll has earned $4.325 million in his two years as a Dodger, and will get $125,000 more if he collects another 23 plate appearances. He has been well worth it.

Now, the question is, will Carroll return for 2012? The Dodgers had chances to trade him at both the July 31 and August 31 trade deadlines, but chose not to do so because they like having him in the clubhouse, as both a player and mentor to Dee Gordon and Justin Sellers. Colletti has expressed a desire in recent days to bring back many of the pending free agents for next season. Will the 38-year old Carroll be among them.

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