Why is this Giants news? Well, mostly for the fact that for a brief time today, Carroll was rumored to have been courted by a “mystery team”, and it turns out it was probably the Twins. Lefty had a nice post earlier on the merits of Carroll with some included caveats. Carroll, even at 38-years-old next year, is a pretty useful guy to have; he gets on base (.356 career OBP) and he can play several infield positions. He’s close to being a two win player in 2012, and he would have served as a nice stopgap at shortstop, as well as Freddy Sanchez insurance at second.
I had also hoped that the Giants would bring in Carroll just for the chance to share this with you:
There’s something about Carroll that I’ve always enjoyed. And it probably has a lot to do with his MLB head shots. Seriously, do a quick Google Image Search on Carroll, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. It’s pure joy.
Carroll’s departure from the free agent market has an impact on the Giants: the team is still presumably looking for infield help, and now that Carroll is gone, pickings are slim. It’s clear that the Giants will not sign Jose Reyes. And I would be shocked if the team made a bid for Rollins. The Willie Bloomquist deal-that-wasn’t tells me two things: 1) the Giants want to spend cheaply, and 2) the Giants are somewhat insane. As mentioned in the previous post, Clint Barmes has been linked to the Giants; he seems like a good possibility right now.
The scariest thing about Carroll now being a Twin is the lack of depth on the market for help at SS or 2B. A quick peak at FanGraph’s leaderboard for free agents and you get the picture pretty quick.
I made the cut at Nick Punto, but you can browse the leaderboards for yourself, it’s not pretty. Once you get past Nick Punto you hit players like: Ramon Santiago, Craig Counsell, Felipe Lopez, Jose Lopez, Orlando Cabrera (!), Aaron Miles, and Jack Wilson.
There’s a good chance that the Giants were never “in” on Carroll, but that doesn’t change the fact the the infield market is really starting to get thin. If the Giants decide to go into 2012 with Brandon Crawford as their starting shortstop, I can’t help but wonder if it’s based on a huge leap of faith, an awesome internal evaluation, or the cold hard truth that the team is being cheap. Like most things, it’s probably a combination of all three, but short was a big problem in 2011 and it’s looking like it has the potential to be sore spot next season.
Man, Clint Barmes is really starting to look good right about now.