There were a lot of questions when the Washington Nationals talked about using Danny Espinosa as their utility infielder. Could they trust the infielder whose struggles at the plate last season led to him being optioned to Triple-A Syracuse? Strong as Espinosa is defensively, what would happen if any of the Nats' infielders were injured and there was a need for a long-term fill-in? Could Espinosa get things sorted out and justify the decision to keep him on the roster? Would the Nationals sign an insurance policy, bringing on another utility-type player in case things didn't work out? We apparently have our answer this afternoon as several sources are reporting that the Nationals have signed veteran infielder Jamey Carroll, 39, a former Montreal Expos' draft pick who played for the Nats during their first season in D.C. in 2005:
Source: #Nationals agree to sign Jamey Carroll— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) January 9, 2014
Does this mean Espinosa might start the season in the minors?
Carroll is signing minor-league deal with #Nationals. Presumably will fill utility role previously occupied by Lombardozzi.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 9, 2014
Jamey Carroll lifetime as a pinch-hitter: .339/.417/.397 in 146 plate appearances. #Nationals— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 9, 2014
Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore too has confirmed the signing though the details are reportedly still being worked out:
Nats sign Jamey Carroll to a minor league deal, source confirms. Said to have "really good chance" to make club. Incentives being worked out— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) January 9, 2014
Carroll played for the Minnesota Twins and Kansas City Royals in 2013, putting up a combined .211/.267/.518 line in 73 games and 249 plate appearances. In his last full season in the majors in 2012, Carroll posted a .268/.343/.317 line with 18 doubles, a triple and a home run in 138 games and 537 PAs over which he was worth +2.0 fWAR. Though he's played second more than any other position, Carroll has played third and short throughout his career. Looks like there will be a competition this Spring...
More info when it is available...