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Dodgers Add Carroll-ing to Holiday Plans

The Dodgers have signed utility man Jamey Carroll to a two-year contract, pending a physical, per Buster Olney of ESPN.  Carroll, who bats right-handed, will likely be Blake DeWitt's caddy at second base in 2010, in addition to filling in at third base or perhaps the outfield if needed.  Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported the deal is worth $3.85 million over two years, with incentives that could take the deal over $4 million.

Carroll, who turns 36 in February, has posted a .355 on-base percentage in each of the last two seasons with the Indians, but has little power.  Carroll is one of two active major leaguers with a career OBP of .350 or higher and a slugging percentage lower than his OBP (minimum 1,000 PA):

OBP Greater Than SLG
Jamey Carroll    
2515 .351 .350
Luis Castillo 7172 .369 .354

Carroll has been rated from slightly below average to slightly above average fielder at both second and third base in each of the last three seasons by both UZR (per Fangraphs) and Plus/Minus:

Jamey Carroll 2B Defense
Year Innings UZR +/-
2007 431.1 +1.9 -1
2008 580.1 +0.1 -4
2009 467.0 +2.7 +6

Jamey Carroll 3B Defense
Year Innings UZR +/-
2007 64.2
2008 199.2
2009 156.0

In other words, Carroll won't kill you in the field.  He played ten games in the corner outfield spots for Cleveland last season as well.  Also, per Bill James Online, his defensive strengths at second seem to lie in his ability to field ground balls, a stark contrast to noted flyball hawk Orlando Hudson.  Maybe Andre Ethier won't be so tentative now coming in on short flies to right field.

Carroll hails from Evansville, Indiana, as does Dodger hitting coach Don Mattingly, a hero of Carroll's youth.  Both Carroll and Mattingly have teamed up with the Boys & Girls Club of Evansville to refurbish local baseball fields through the years.  Here's an interview with Carroll from the 2008 Evansville event (the reporter sounds a little like Will Ferrell's impression of Harry Caray):

I can't say I'm a fan of giving Carroll a two-year deal, but at least he does provide some skills and versatility.  Still, I can't shake the feeling that if you squint hard enough, Carroll looks an awful lot like Mark Loretta, signed by the Dodgers last season:

Player Years Ages BA/OBP/SLG OPS+
Jamey Carroll    
2008-09 34-35 .276/.355/.343 89
Mark Loretta 2007-08 .35-36 .284/.352/.376 91

I eagerly look forward to Carroll's game-winning hit in Game 2 of the 2010 NLDS (much like his game-winning sacrifice fly off Trevor Hoffman in the 2007 Wild Card playoff game for the Rockies against the Padres).

There are now 35 players on the Dodgers' 40-man roster.