This is really a pretty amazing story, though it’s one that probably won’t have a happy ending.
According to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal and ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the Twins and infielder Jamey Carroll have agreed to terms on a two-year, $7 million contract.
That in itself doesn’t seem like a particularly bad move. However, according to both Rosenthal and Crasnick, the Twins are signing Carroll to serve as an everyday shortstop.
It’ll be the first time in his entire career that Carroll has been anointed an everyday shortstop. He’s never really been an everyday anything. His most career starts at one position in any year was 102 games at second base with the Rockies in 2006. Next after that was 66 games at second base with the Indians in 2008.
And Carroll is turning 38 in February!
Since 1901, there have been a total of 26 seasons in which a shortstop 38 or older has played in at least 100 games. The majority of them were by future Hall of Famers. Five of them were Honus Wagner seasons. Three were Luis Aparicio seasons. The last three were Omar Vizquel seasons. There certainly isn’t a Carroll in the bunch.
So, this is quite an experiment the Twins are undertaking. In their defense, Carroll, who rarely played shortstop prior to 2010, has started 118 games at the position the last two years without embarrassing himself in the least. According to the numbers, he’s been only a bit below average.
But the Twins are betting against history in a big way here. 38-year-olds aren’t typically legitimate shortstops, and Carroll wasn’t very rangey even in his youth. It might be best for the team if Trevor Plouffe solves his errant ways and becomes a legitimate shortstop, allowing Carroll to slide over to second base and start over Tsuyoshi Nishioka there. Carroll might well be pretty decent as a starter at second these next two seasons. At shortstop, he has some long odds to defy.
Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.
While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.
When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.
Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.
More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.
Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)
It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.