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Why Jamey Carroll Is Good For You, With Caveats

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Here, try a caveat. They're scrumptious sprinkled on a bagel with cream cheese and a shpritz of lemon juice. No? We'll come back to them later.

I've called you all to brunch this morning because Jamey Carroll is reportedly close to signing a multi-year deal with a team that's not the Dodgers, Padres, Rockies, Braves, Indians or Tigers. There's nothing out there linking him to the Giants, but we know that Sabes tried hard to sign a poor-man's Carroll in Willie Bloomquist.

Jamey Carroll is 38 years old, so if you insist on making Sabean/Giants/Old People jokes, please start polishing your material now. If your jokes don't break new comedic ground, Omar Vizquel on behalf of cool old people everywhere will come to your house, slap your stupid face, jump over you, and complete the double play to end the game.

omar fu.jpgHere's why a multi-year contract for Jamey Carroll isn't necessarily a bad idea. He could platoon with Brandon Crawford at shortstop, fill in for Freddy Sanchez at second base, and in 2013 could even take over at second base after Sanchez's contract expires. He'll be 39, but he seems to be aging gracefully. With his career .356 OBP -- it hasn't been lower than .355 since 2007 -- he could lead off the days he starts. He's not a prolific base stealer, but he's effective: 22 for 26 the past two years.

His defense is tough to gauge. UZR, which is not a good one-year measure by most accounts, says that at 2B he's fluctuated between positive and negative the past four years, and at SS with the Dodgers in 2010 and 2011, he's been 4.0 and -6.2. Probably not the guy to have playing 150 games at SS, but unless he falls apart in 2012/2013, he shouldn't kill anyone out there.

Last point for now about Carroll: he's got no power. None power. He's slappier than Alex Rodriguez trying to avoid a Bronson Special. So if his base-reaching skills fade, uh-oh, but there's little sign of that happening, except his age.

Carroll made close to $4 million the past two years. He'll get more than that this time. What's he worth? Remember, a contributed win is worth $4 million-$5 million in today's game, and Carroll has contributed more than 2 WAR in each of the past two years. Two years, $8 M, with the second year pricier ($2.75 M and $5.25 M)? If in fact he became the starting 2B in 2013, that could still be a bargain, and he wouldn't be blocking anyone in the minors.

OK, now for the standard caveats: If Carroll becomes the starting shortstop and he is the final upgrade of the offense this winter, bleccch. If Carroll platoons with Brandon Belt in left field, grrrr. If the medical staff isn't rock-solid 100% sure that Carroll has the body of a 29-year-old, arrghh. But if it's Melky, Jamey, and at least one more brilliant, clever, bold move for an impact hitter, and then the starting rotation receives both lavish riches and syringes full of guaranteed long-term health, I will consider this a successful off-season.  

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