Jamey Carroll is useful, but he’s not a starting shortstop

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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.

Hunter Pence is mashing for the Rangers

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Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.

Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.

Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.

What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.

That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.