Minnesota Twins: Time To Give Alexi Casilla More Playing Time
When the Minnesota Twins signed infielder Jamey Carroll to a two-year, $6.75 million contract last winter, they were relying on him to bring stability to an infield that severely lacked it in 2011. Any offensive contribution he offered would certainly be considered a bonus, as Carroll has not hit a home run since 2009 and he has never driven in more than 36 runs in a season.
But Carroll’s 1-for-22 slump to start July and .132 batting average dating back to June 19, punctuated by his sixth error of the season Sunday night against the Texas Rangers, has him hitting .234 this season with a .318 on-base percentage and an OPS of less than .600. Quite simply, if Carroll was not 38 years old or making the money he is, a demotion to Triple-A would be coming. At the very least a demotion to the bench should be on the horizon, but that has not come to fruition yet.
Shortstop Brian Dozier started off solidly after being called up in May, hitting .298 with two home runs and five RBI in his first 11 games, but since May 18 he is hitting just .226 over 164 at-bats with one home run and 17 RBI. He deserves a chance to go through some ups and downs early in his big league career considering where the Twins are at this season, but 13 errors defensively at this point also has to be a concern. A demotion to Triple-A Rochester would seem more likely for Dozier than staying in the big leagues as a bench player, and that may be something the team has to entertain if his struggles continue.
I now give you Alexi Casilla, who only has 48 at-bats since June 1. Granted, he has had numerous chances himself in recent years and has not proven consistent enough offensively or defensively to be an every day player. Injuries have played a role at times, as Casilla has never had more than 385 at-bats in a season, but at this point there is little to lose in giving him more playing time, be it at second base or shortstop.
It may take a trade to open up playing time for Casilla, and Carroll has definitely deflated his trade value recently and his salary stands to make him undesirable even to a team desperate for infield help. All in all, the Twins need to look toward the future all the way around after the All-Star break and Casilla has a better chance at being a part of the future than Carroll does for sure.