When Jamey Carroll was signed last off-season to a two-year, $3.85 million deal, I was one of many whose reaction was generally unfavorable:
If Carroll goes into obvious decline this season and is released before 2011, which is not far-fetched at his age and position, it becomes a $3.85M commitment for only one year of actual play. I can’t believe there was actually competition to sign a 36-year old, part-time player for two years. And if he really is supposed to be the RH half of a 2B platoon with DeWitt, I might rather see if I can’t get Roly-Poly Belliard – a year younger and coming off three straight 100 OPS+ or better seasons – for that job for one year.
I wasn't alone as there were others who thought the likes of Belliard or Chin-Lung Hu, for example, could provide similar offensive production and defensive versatility for a near major-league minimum price tag. Ha, ha, the joke may have been on us as Carroll received the second-most playing time of his career and responded with career, or near-career, highs in several offensive statistics. He also demonstrated his value around the diamond by capably playing 2B, 3B and SS, and filling in for Rafael Furcal during the latter's trips to the disabled list. In fact, the fielding metrics available to us indicate that Jamey Gamer is an average or better fielder at the three positions he is primarily asked to cover, which is a nice quality for your backup utility infielder to have:
|Jamey Carroll Fielding Metrics|
UZR/150 (per fangraphs), career
+/- (per BillJamesOnline) 2006 - 2010, cumulative
|Career Innings Played||3418.0||1200.0||1068.7|
He must have also brought something to the clubhouse because the Dodgers coaches and players voted Carroll the winner of the Roy Campanella Award for best exemplifying the late Dodger catching legend's spirit and leadership.
Carroll is one of only two major-leaguers ever to spell his first name "J-a-m-e-y". The other is Jamey Wright, who I'm surprised Ned Colletti didn't bring in as an NRI reliever this spring.
Both Carroll and manager Don Mattingly were born and raised in the Evansville, Indiana region.
One of Carroll's twelve career home runs was hit off current teammate Ted Lilly.
He is another multiple-birth Dodger daddy. His twins, one of each sex, turn three later this month.
Carroll is in the last year of his backloaded contract; he'll earn $2.5 million in 2011. Full details here.
|2011 Projections - Age 37 Season|
|(AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)|
The Dodgers will be counting on Carroll to be the primary backup infielder again and hoping that he can still hit enough to be a useful part of the lineup. Father Time may have something to say about it though, as Carroll turned 37 last Friday. Since 1961, only 22 middle infielders have come to the plate 200 or more times in their age 37 season, and only 10 of those posted an OPS+ of 90 or better. I will guess that Carroll gets 225 PAs and hits .270 / .350 / .333.
What are the TBLA community projections for Jamey Carroll in 2011? Give us your prediction for BA, OBP, and SLG in the comments, and feel free to add plate appearances or any other predictions you have as well.