After hitting .290 with a .368 on-base-percentage the past two seasons with the Dodgers, Jamey Carroll’s offensive numbers have dipped with the Twins in 2012, but that’s not the whole story. The 11-year veteran’s ability to man shortstop, second and third base competently has been invaluable to team whose infield has been in a constant state of flux.
The Twins inked Carroll to a 2-year $6.75 million free agent contract last November, so despite turning 39 next February, he figures to be back with the team in 2013. A late bloomer who played just 18 major league games before his 29th birthday, Carroll began his career in Montreal and played for Washington, Colorado, Cleveland and the Dodgers prior to joining the hometown team. I caught up with journeyman infielder during the Twins last homestand.
DZ: We’re in August now, things are winding down, how would you assess your season from a personal standpoint?
CARROLL: From a personal standpoint, I’d say inconsistent…I guess you could go more specifically on the hitting, I feel like I am a better hitter than what I’ve shown. In some categories, I am doing better than I ever have before and then there are other categories that I’m not. I am not one that is really big on (statistics), but everybody else is – meaning media and stuff like that…I feel like I’ve been inconsistent on how much I’ve contributed this year. I felt like it was going to be better than it has been.
DZ: Do you look at your stats a lot?
CARROLL: One, I don’t think you can help it because it’s on every scoreboard throughout every stadium and two; you guys remind us a lot of where we’re at and where we stand. It’s hard to get away from. You try to go into everyday as a new day whether you had a good day or bad day (the day before), because that’s the way the sport is.
DZ: You’ve had a lot of playing time this year moving around the infield. What is that like, do you know day-to-day where you are going to be at?
CARROLL: No, not until the line-up comes out. I have been doing it my whole career, so I am used to it. It kind of keeps everything fresh and challenging…it definitely keeps you on your toes.
DZ: If you could be an everyday player at (a specific position), what would be your favorite one?
CARROLL: It’s hard to say because each position, I enjoy something about it that is completely different. Playing second – turning the double play; playing short you are out in the middle of everything, you have a lot of action and you have to be athletic; third you have to react and be quick and you have a long throw and the bunting game too. They all have their set of challenges.
DZ: Going back to last winter when you were a free agent, why did you decide to come here?
CARROLL: I have played against this team before and felt like I fit their style of baseball. When somebody calls and gives you an opportunity in a place where you’ve always felt like you fit in; I thought it was a no-brainer.
DZ: You are a guy who was a late bloomer – you were 29 before you stuck in the big leagues and now you are going to be 39 this offseason. Do you have a time table on how much longer you want to keep playing?
CARROLL: I’ll keep playing as long I can help a team win and somebody wants me to help a team win. I feel good physically, if not this year, better than I have in quite some time, so hopefully after this time runs out I will continue to have somebody give me a call and want me to play.
DZ: Do you see yourself staying around the game coaching or anything like that?
CARROLL: I am not sure yet. I feel like I have learned a lot to not go home and just sit on it. At the same time, I’ll have to evaluate when I am done playing where my family is at and what I want to do.
See more of David Zingler’s interviews with Twins players:
August 14: Scott Diamond
August 11: Darin Mastroianni
June 24: Ben Revere
June 19: Ryan Doumit
June 16: Brian Duensing
June 2: Brian Dozier
May 26: Josh Willingham
May 17: Denard Span
May 1: Jared Burton
April 28: Alex Burnett
April 21: Chris Parmelee
April 17: Sean Burroughs
April 13: Jeff Gray