Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dumatrait, Carroll and a rough draft of the middle infield

Phil Dumatrait: May
he be roster filler in
Rochester, not in
The Twins last month dropped Phil Dumatrait from their 40-man roster, making him a minor-league free agent. It would appear that the lefty found nobody willing to sign him to a major league deal, so he re-upped Wednesday with the Twins on a minor league deal.

Joe Christensen says Dumatrait enjoyed his time in Minnesota. By that I assume he means Dumatrait enjoyed spending most of the season in the majors. The Twins will be best served, to be blunt about it, if the pitching staff does well enough and stays healthy enough that Dumatrait spends all of 2012 in Rochester.


The Jamey Carroll signing became official Wednesday. We haven't reached Thanksgiving yet, and the Twins have been shuffling their middle infield:

  • Matt Tolbert was cut loose;
  • Carroll was signed;
  • Trevor Plouffe is to be an outfielder, and not a middle infield factor.

Brian Dozier, who had a very good 2011 split between High A (Fort Myers) and Double A (New Britain) followed it up with a good stint in the Arizona Fall League, but the Twins aren't likely to push him to the majors with just a half-season above A ball.

Brian Dozier: Don't
expect to see him at
the start of 2012.
Which means that as things stand, the middle infield figures to be made up of Carroll, Alexi Casilla and Tsuyoshi Nishioka. The Twins are hoping that Nishioka's struggles in 2011 was based on his leg injuries and that a sound Nishi will be a better Nishi.

But they're not pinning their hopes on him, as they did in 2011. The three of them -- Carroll, Casilla and Nishioka -- figure to compete during spring training for the two regular jobs, with Luke Hughes and Dozier the dark horses.

I'm not high on any of them as a shortstop right now. Nishioka can be better in 2012 than he was in 2011 and still be south of major-league quality; Casilla has never produced consistently; and Carroll is a 38-year-old utility man.

I figure by midseason there will be an obvious opening for Dozier, and he'll have a bit more experience under his belt.

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