Tag Archives: Jamey Carroll

Bad to worse

Posted by Steve

While obviously not ideal, losing Chris Narveson and Mat Gamel was manageable. Losing Alex Gonzalez, who joins Gamel with a torn ACL, is a different story. Gonzalez had been impressive this season. He came up with some big hits, but more importantly, his defense was terrific. The Brewers have in-house options Gamel and Narveson, but there are no passable replacements for Gonzalez currently in the organization. If the Brewers want to contend this season, they’ll need to add a new shortstop somehow.

This should be the focus. I have no interest in adding Derek Lee to play first base. Not because he wouldn’t help; he’d fit in nicely as a platoon with Taylor Green. But who actually believes Roenicke wouldn’t play Lee most of the time? He’s a 36-year-old who had a .325 OBP last year; Lee won’t help as a near full-time player.

So, much like we did a few months ago, let’s look at some shortstop options.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many. It’s too early for teams to give up on the season, therefore you won’t find many sellers. Two who are so bad that they shouldn’t have qualms would be the Twins and Padres.

Jamey Carroll was just benched. The Twins gave him a two year deal for $6 million. He’s 38 and can’t play every day. I’m not all that interested in Carroll, but he wouldn’t cost much of anything in terms of prospects.

The Padres have Jason Bartlett signed for $5.5 million this year. Bartlett doesn’t do much for me, either. He hasn’t reached a WAR of 2 since 2009, and Fangraphs doesn’t think much of his defense.

Gonzalez already had a .4 WAR this season (Yuni had 0.5 all of last season!) The Brewers aren’t going to find someone to play at that level, although Gonzalez wasn’t going to keep that up either. Bartlett and Carroll just aren’t worth the money; they aren’t that much better than replacement level at this point.

The Brewers do need a new shortstop, but the reality is they will likely need to wait until sometime in June to get one. That means it’s up to play well enough in the meantime, so the team is still in position to buy once others are willing to sell.

I’m not all that worried yet, to be honest. Rickie Weeks, Aramis Ramirez, and Ryan Braun (save for one game, really) have yet to hit their stride offensively. Yo is going to turn it around. They should be able to hang around .500 and be in position to add a shortstop within the next 4-6 weeks.

Infield Emergency

Posted by Steve

I was at the game Wednesday night, so I saw Rickie Weeks’ injury live. I couldn’t even get excited about the game or the win after seeing that. Then I went to a friend’s, where MLB Network was on in the background. They showed the injury. Then they showed it again. Then they showed in from a different, zoomed-in angle. Then, they took to their in-studio diamond where Larry Bowa was apparently showing the right way to step on a base or something. In other words, it was inescapable, and it kept reminding me how doomed the Brewers might be.

Unless something significant happens, that injury may spell the end of the Brewers’ season. The need for infield depth just became an emergency.

The Brewers quickly added Felipe Lopez today in a cash trade, who has the potential to be a decent fill-in. They still need more, though–much more. Eric Farris sure won’t be the answer. More on this after my rant.

<rant>

What on God’s Green Earth does Taylor Green have to do to get called up? At the time of Farris’ call-up, Green had an .957 OPS. Farris’ was .665. What in tarnation?!

There are a few explanations for this, and they’re all dumb. The first is a nightmare scenario: that Green is on the PTBNL list for the K-Rod trade. If that’s the case, I go from liking the deal to hating it. Bullpen help was a ways down the list of the Brewers’ biggest needs, so if they gave up someone who could have helped more than K-Rod this year (and the next six!), I’ll be furious.

Another scenario is that the Brewers dont’ see Green as a second baseman, which Ron Roenicke said today. To that I say: NOW they’re worried about infield defense? They already have the worst infield defense in baseball. Weeks is not a great defender, so even though Green’s natural position is third, it’s worth it to get his bat in the lineup. The offense is a serious concern moving forward without Weeks.

The final scenario is that Green is not on the 40-man roster, so they called up Farris, who was. Again, who cares? Green will be on the 40-man soon enough anyway. He’s their best option at third in the entire organization for the last few months, yet they’re worried about finding a spot on the 40-man. Unreal.

By the way, in case you were wondering how Green responded to once again being snubbed out of a call-up, he had two homers, two walks, a single and a double in last night’s game. It is beyond absurd that he isn’t in Milwaukee at this point.

</rant>

Anywho. Lopez is likely the best option of the ugly, four-headed monster of Craig Counsell/Josh Wilson/Felipe Lopez/Eric Farris, so I’d just as soon give him the majority of starts at second base. But he won’t be nearly enough. They absolutely need one more middle infielder, and really could use two.

They still need a full-time shortstop, and I’m still holding out hope on someone like Clint Barmes, Brendan Ryan, Rafael Furcal, etc. Then, after that, they need a utility infielder who can back up at least 2B/3B, and preferably a SS/2B/3B backup. Barmes and Carroll is ideal, though that will be tough to do and is unlikely.

All I know is the Brewers’ infield needs to look drastically different on Monday than it does right now if I’m going to feel good about their chances to make the playoffs. If I had my druthers (+1), Betancourt, Farris, and one of Wilson/Counsell would be gone by next week.

Doug Melvin will do something, but I’m expecting to be underwhelmed. He’s in a very tough position, but everything he’s said and done to this point in his acceptance of Betancourt and McGehee tells me that he doesn’t see the situation as nearly as dire as it truly is.

Trade deadline: Shortstop targets

Posted by Steve

The deadline is quickly approaching, and the one position the Brewers need to upgrade through trade is shortstop. Virtually anyone will be an upgrade over Yuniesky Betancourt, but who is the right balance of talented and available?

Jason Bartlett

Bartlett was a great player just a few years ago, which likely inflates his price. He’s having a poor season overall, although he’s turned it on offensively the last couple weeks. Fangraphs is even down on his defense the last few years, which had been a big strength for him in years past. For the money he’s making ($5.5 million each of the next two years), I’ll pass on Bartlett.

Rafael Furcal

Furcal has been a huge injury risk in recent years, but until this year, he’s been a good player when healthy. Not this year, though. In just 122 ABs, he has a .469 OPS. He’s 33 years old and no guarantee to stay healthy. In fact, you could call him a long shot to stay healthy. He also had a $12 million salary this year. For all these reasons, I prefer other options to Furcal.

Jamey Carroll

This seems to be the most likely player for the Brewers, as multiple rumors have the Brewers interested in him. He’s got a nice eye at the plate, with an OBP of .356. What a massive upgrade that’d be from Betancourt’s .272. Thing is, there are problems with Carroll, namely in his age. He’s 37, which means he really shouldn’t be a full time player. Likely because of his age, fangraphs has him as a fairly poor defender at short. Certainly nowhere near as bad as Yuni, but not good. I would not be comfortable with him as an everyday shortstop. I’d welcome him as a utility infielder, but would hope they’d acquire more of an everyday shortstop. He can replace Counsell or Wilson; let someone better replace Betancourt.

Ian Desmond

Now here’s an interesting option. Desmond was a pretty good prospect a few years ago. He’s now 25 years old and hasn’t hit a lick in the majors. He is unlikely to be an offensive improvement from Betancourt this season, which is why he may not be the best target. He is, however, a good defender, which means he’s still a fairly significant upgrade. Add in the fact that he’s only 25 and has a ceiling left, and the fact that he has several years of team control, and he becomes more appealing. Of course, that means he’s still likely to come with a high price tag. Still, his name is coming up in rumors because of a shortstop prospect in the Nats system who’s hitting. He’s worth looking in to.

Still, what makes a player an attractive candidate, like I said, is the right balance of talent and availability. The guys I have mentioned are lacking a bit in one area or another. That brings us to these next two, who seem to have the right balance, and are therefore my preferred targets.

Clint Barmes/Brendan Ryan

Both of these guys are unexciting. They’re also cheap, solid defenders, and playing on bad teams who will be looking to sell.

Barmes is a plus defender according to fangraphs, and he has been for years. He has a .323 OBP, which is a massive 51-point increase over Betancourt. He’s still young enough to play every day at 32, makes just under $4 million this season, and is a free agent after the year. For that reason, the Astros shouldn’t have any qualms about parting with him.

Ryan is a very similar case. He’s somewhere in the good to elite defensive category at short. He carries a .324 OBP, which again is not great, but not terrible for a shortstop–and definitely much better than Betancourt. Ryan makes $1.75 mil this year, so his contract is no issue. He’s arbitration eligible as well, so it would make sense for the Brewers to keep him unless they find something else in the offseason.

Neither guy is a world beater until you compare them to Betancourt. Both players have been worth over two wins more than Yuni so far this season, which is a huge amount. Neither would be expensive in terms of money or prospects.

My ideal deadline would be one of Barmes/Ryan and then Jamey Carroll for a utility infielder. This would not break the bank, yet would help the defense and offense.

Then, just call up Taylor Green and you’re ready for the stretch run.