Jamey Carroll Rumors

Ohio Notes: Reds, Indians, Carroll, Axford

Here's the latest from both teams in the Buckeye State…

  • The Reds are lacking in shortstop depth behind Zack Cozart and MLB.com's Mark Sheldon wonders if the club will address this issue before Spring Training.  The pickings are slim on the utility backup shortstop market, and they became even slimmer when Jamey Carroll recently signed with Washington.  The Reds weren't in on Carroll, Sheldon reports.  (The Indians, however, were one of Carroll's suitors.)
  • It's been a quiet offseason for the Reds, and ESPN's Dave Cameron (Insider subscription required) argues that the team has done little to keep pace in the NL Central.  Cameron suggests three moves involving Homer Bailey, the rotation and the backup outfield spot that would help upgrade the Reds' roster for 2014 and beyond.
  • After he was traded to the Cardinals last summer, John Axford was surprised to learn from St. Louis coaches that he was tipping his pitches, the reliever told John Lott of the National Post.  Axford discusses the adjustments that led to turning his season around as a Cardinal, and his subsequent signing with the Indians.
  • The Indians may have a few million dollars in remaining payroll to spend, Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.  The front office plans to wait until right before Spring Training and then use these potential funds if a player they like is still on the market.
  • Also from Pluto, David Cooper also received a Major League contract offer from the Rays before the first baseman chose to re-sign with the Indians in December.
  • Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer covers a number of Indians-related topics in a reader mailbag, including whether or not there's a spot for Michael Young on the Tribe's roster.
  • Roto Authority, MLBTR's fantasy baseball-focused sister site, has relaunched for 2014 with all-new content.  One of the many articles from RA's opening week was Alex Steers McCrum's piece about how the Tribe's plan to give Yan Gomes the bulk of playing time behind the plate makes Gomes a strong fantasy catching option.

Nationals To Sign Jamey Carroll

The Nationals have agreed to terms with Jamey Carroll according to Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish (Twitter link). Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that it's a minor league contract (also via Twitter) Carroll is represented by Millennium Sports.

Carroll, 40 next month, batted just .211/.267/.251 for the Twins and Royals last season but collected his 1,000th Major League hit along the way. He's just one year removed from a .268/.343/.317 batting line with solid defense at three infield positions for the 2012 Twins. Carroll can help to fill the utility infield role that was formerly filled by Steve Lombardozzi. The Nationals included Lombardozzi in the trade that netted them Doug Fister from the Tigers.

This will be Carroll's second stint in a Nationals jersey. The Indiana native was drafted by the Expos in the 14th round of the 1996 draft and made his big league debut with the Expos in 2002. Carroll was still with the organization when it jumped to Washington, appearing in 113 games for the Nationals in their inaugural season. Carroll has never had power — he has just 13 career homers — but he has a solid defensive reputation at three positions and a patient approach at the plate. He has a 9.7 percent career walk rate and is a career .272/.349/.338 hitter in 4,225 plate appearances.

ESPN's Jerry Crasnick first reported that Carroll was nearing a deal with an unknown team (on Twitter), and Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reported that the Nationals and Indians were in the mix (Twitter link).

Jamey Carroll Close To Signing; Nats, Indians In The Mix

11:50am: Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reports that the market for Carroll is indeed heating up, and the Nationals and Indians are in the mix (Twitter link).

11:17am: Veteran utility infielder Jamey Carroll is finalizing a deal with an unspecified team and expects to complete the deal today or tomorrow, reports ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter). The soon-to-be 40-year-old is represented by Millennium Sports Management.

Carroll struggled in 2013 and was unable to replicate the solid numbers he posted for the Twins in his age-38 season. After slashing .268/.343/.317 in 537 plate appearances and playing solid defense at shortstop, second and third for Minnesota in 2012, he hit just .211/.267/.251 in 249 PAs between Minnesota and Kansas City this season. He did reach a career milestone by collecting his 1,000th base hit.

Quick Hits: Coleman, Rockies, Red Sox

Broadcaster Jerry Coleman has died, the Padres have announced (on Twitter). He was 89. Coleman suffered a fall in early December and had been in and out of the hospital since then, Chris Jenkins of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. As a player, Coleman debuted with the Yankees in 1949 and played for them until the end of his career in 1957. He also served in World War II and the Korean War. Coleman began his broadcasting career in 1960, calling games for the Yankees and Angels before settling in with the Padres beginning in 1972. He managed the Padres for one year, in 1980, but was better known as a broadcaster, winning the Ford C. Frick award in 2005. Here are more notes from around baseball.

  • The Rockies are not interested in free-agent infielder Jamey Carroll, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports (on Sulia). Now that they've traded Jonathan Herrera, the Rockies intend to have Josh Rutledge and Charlie Culberson compete for their utility infielder job.
  • The Red Sox have a number of starting pitching prospects on the verge of being able to contribute in the big leagues, and they'll need to have a plan to find Major League roles for them, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald writes. That could be tricky because of their sheer number (they include Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa, Anthony Ranaudo, Brandon Workman, Matt Barnes, Drake Britton and Henry Owens) and because young starters often have "hiccups," as GM Ben Cherington describes it. Nonetheless, the Red Sox do not currently seem to have plans to trade anyone currently in their rotation. Instead, they want to preserve their depth in case there are injuries.
  • A variety of current and former big-league front-office types with Western Pennsylvania roots meet every December in Pittsburgh, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. Attendees have included Pirates president Frank Coonelly, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik, Marlins assistant GM Mike Berger, Indians senior director of scouting operations John Mirabelli, Blue Jays assistant GM Tony LaCava, former Pirates GM Dave Littlefield, Royals special assistant Tim Conroy and Pirates national scouting supervisor Jack Bowen. "It's open to anyone in the area with even a loose affiliation to major league baseball," says Berger. "It's neat to see the different guys who roll in, from part-time scouts to team officials, young guys just getting their start, interns. You'd be surprised how many of us call Pittsburgh home."

Quick Hits: Ervin, Volstad, Huff, Carroll, Penny

The Reds are impressed with outfielder and 2013 first-round pick Phillip Ervin, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports. "We were really impressed," says Reds director of player development Jeff Graupe. "Obviously, all the physical ability he has is the first thing you see. But over time, seeing the consistent quality of his at-bats was the most impressive thing for me." Ervin, 21, hit .331/.425/.564 in 2013 season split between rookie ball and Class A. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.

  • When the Angels signed pitcher Chris Volstad to a minor-league deal in November, they knew it was possible he might decide to play overseas instead, MLBTR's Zach Links tweets. Volstad recently signed on with the Doosan Bears in Korea.
  • Aubrey Huff has officially retired and accepted a job as a broadcaster with the Pac-12 Network, MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo reports. Huff finishes his 13-year career with a .278/.342/.464 line in 6,786 plate appearances with the Rays, Astros, Orioles, Tigers and Giants.
  • Free-agent infielder Jamey Carroll could soon make a decision on a new team, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweets. Carroll, who will be 40 next month, hit .211/.267/.251 in 249 plate appearances with the Twins and Royals last season. He would likely receive a minor-league deal.
  • Brad Penny could make an "interesting no-risk signing," Troy Renck of the Denver Post tweets. Renck mentions that he has heard Penny has pitched well in offseason workouts. Penny, 35, last appeared in the big leagues in 2012 with the Giants, and he's now in the midst of a comeback attempt.

AL East Links: Floyd, Ackley, Ortiz, Rays

Despite pitching just 28 1/3 innings in 2013, Gavin Floyd inked a one-year deal with the Braves yesterday that is worth $4MM and could reach $8.5MM via incentives. That's a fine payday for a mid-rotation arm coming off Tommy John surgery, but Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that Floyd could have been paid even more handsomely. According to Connolly, the Orioles offered Floyd a two-year deal that could have reached $20MM after incentives, but Floyd turned them down. Here's more out of the AL East…

Rays, Rangers, Indians Eyeing Jamey Carroll

Veteran infielder Jamey Carroll is drawing interest from a number of teams, including the Rays, Rangers, and Indians, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter link).

Carroll, 39, endured the worst season of his 12-year career this past year, recording a .211/.267/.251 slash line in 249 total plate appearances for the Twins and Royals. However, he posted an OBP of .357 in the five seasons prior to 2013. While he's very unlikely to earn a starting job anywhere, Carroll could still have some value as a utility infielder.

Carroll's previous contract was worth $6.75MM over two years, but he figures to come cheaper this time around.

AL East Notes: Rays, Red Sox, Yankees, Orioles

The Rays will trade David Price, but his two remaining years of team control mean that GM Andrew Friedman can afford to wait for the right return, Marc Topkin writes for the Tampa Bay Times. They're expected to look to improve upon the return they got from the Royals for James Shields, so a package could comprise an elite-level young player such as the Mariners' Taijuan Walker or the Rangers' Jurickson Profar, along with a major league-ready talent and one or two lower-level prospects. Here's the latest out of the AL East:

  • While the Rays might play the waiting game with Price, first base is "an area we absolutely have to address," Friedman says in a second Topkin article. They'd like to re-up with James Loney, but not at his three-year, $27MM asking price. Topkin adds that the Rays also appear to be interested in a veteran right-handed hitter who can handle second base, citing reported interest in Mark Ellis and Jamey Carroll.
  • Red Sox GM Ben Cherington says his club may be done with its "heavy lifting" this offseason and is now entering an "opportunistic phase," Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com tweets. The team is "sort of looking at different scenarios, different ideas, and maybe nothing comes of those because we feel pretty good about where we are right now," Ian Browne quotes Cherington as saying in an MLB.com article.
  • It's easy to overlook just how bad the 2013 Yankees were, SBNation's Rob Neyer writes. The club won 85 games, but its Pythagorean record suggests a 79-win team, and more nuanced analyses indicate the team was even worse. However, this offseason's slew of free agent signings and healthy seasons from players such as Mark Teixeira should give the Yankees a fighting chance in 2014, Neyer says. The Bombers figure to be better at no less than seven positions next year.
  • MLB sources say the Yankees will listen on Brett Gardner, particularly if they're offered a starting pitcher in exchange, Newsday's Marc Carig reports. The Star-Ledger previously reported major interest in the outfielder. Gardner is projected to earn $4MM in his final year of arbitration by MLBTR's Matt Swartz.
  • While there's good sense in the Orioles' decision to allow Scott Feldman and Nate McLouth to depart to other teams, the club must secure replacements, Dan Connolly writes for The Baltimore Sun. Connolly says at least one should be replaced by an upgrade via free agency, citing Bronson Arroyo and A.J. Burnett as acceptable substitutes for Feldman. 


Quick Hits: Astros, Athletics, Dodgers, Wolf

The Astros may not have a realistic shot at winning next season, but they can offer playing time and have a bright future, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle writes. "Someone looking to win a World Series title next year may not think about the Astros as the first place to go sign," says GM Jeff Luhnow. "But having said that, we also have an opportunity."

Luhnow also says the Astros could make a major move if the right opportunity presented itself. "If it’s the right situation for the right player, the right length of years. Houston’s a big city," he says. "We’ve got the capacity to compete with the big boys ultimately, and whether or not we start this year or next year after that, I think eventually it’s coming." Whether a top-notch free agent would be willing to come to Houston at this point is an open question, however. Here's more from around the big leagues.

  • The Astros aren't likely to acquire first baseman Ike Davis in a trade with the Mets, Drellich writes. Drellich also notes that the Astros did not have interest in Marlon Byrd, who recently signed with the Philles. Still, the Astros are hoping to add a power bat at first base or in the outfield, and they're open to finding one via free agency or trade.
  • The Athletics' signing of Nick Punto doesn't mean they're likely to deal Jed Lowrie, writes the New York Post's Joel Sherman. Punto "has nothing to do with Jed Lowrie. Jed is our starting shortstop," says A's assistant GM David Forst. Lowrie is eligible for free agency after the 2014 season.
  • Brian Wilson wouldn't mind returning to the Dodgers as something other than a closer, as long as they pay him like one, Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times tweets. Wilson was excellent down the stretch for the Dodgers last season, but they already have a very good closer in Kenley Jansen.
  • Free agent Jamey Carroll is attracting interest, Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press reports. The infielder will be 40 in February, but he does not want to retire. Carroll hit .211/.267/.251 in 249 plate appearances with the Twins and Royals last season.
  • Lefty Randy Wolf is on the comeback trail after sitting out the 2013 season, and he plans to audition for MLB teams later this month, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick tweets. Wolf posted a 5.65 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 157 2/3 innings with the Brewers and Orioles in 2012.

Jamey Carroll Rejects Outright Assignment

Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports that the Royals outrighted Jamey Carroll off their 40-man roster, and the veteran infielder rejected the outright assignment, thereby becoming a free agent (Twitter link). In doing so, the Royals have effectively declined their $2MM club option on Carroll, meaning that he will instead receive a $250K buyout.

Carroll, who turns 40 in February, was acquired in exchange for cash considerations in an August trade with the Twins. The veteran utilityman collected just four hits in 36 at-bats for Kansas City down the stretch, bringing him to an even 1,000 for his career.

Carroll originally signed a two-year, $6.75MM contract with the Twins that contained a $2MM club option for 2014. Had he reached 401 plate appearances in 2013, that option would have become a player option. However, Carroll was unable to replicate his respectable 2012 numbes this season. After slashing .268/.343/.317 in 537 plate appearances and playing solid defense at shortstop, second and third for the Twins in 2012, he hit just .211/.265/.251 in 249 PAs between Minnesota and Kansas City this season.