Dodgers land versatile Carroll
Right-handed hitter expects to back up second, third base
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers bolstered their second-base situation by agreeing to a two-year contract with versatile infielder Jamey Carroll, pending a physical examination, agent Jonathan Maurer confirmed Wednesday.
Carroll is from Mattingly's hometown, Evansville, Ind.
The Dodgers also agreed to a one-year Minor League contract with journeyman reliever Luis Ayala with an invitation to Major League camp, according to the Los Angeles Times. Ayala had a 5.62 ERA splitting time this year between Minnesota and Florida.
The Dodgers could not confirm either agreement.
Carroll, who turns 36 in February, could emerge as the starting second baseman. At the least he will be the safety net for young left-handed hitting second baseman Blake DeWitt, who was described by general manager Ned Colletti last week as the starter "as of today."
Carroll also could spell Casey Blake at third base and has limited experience at shortstop, where the club is without an experienced backup for Rafael Furcal but could go with Chin-lung Hu.
"Jamey is excited to be a Dodger," Maurer said. "The Dodgers have a professional front office. It's been great dealing with Ned Colletti and Kim Ng and we look at this as a chance to team with Blake DeWitt and take the club to the playoffs again."
Carroll hit .273 and played in 93 games with Cleveland this season, accumulating 315 at-bats while earning $2.5 million. He previously played with Montreal, Washington and reached the World Series with Colorado in 2007.
Carroll's best season was 2006, when he played 136 games, had 534 plate appearances, scored 84 runs and batted .300. It was the only season in which he played more than 113 games.
"Jamey expects to play a lot," said Maurer. "Blake DeWitt is a strong left-handed hitter and a good second baseman, but this will be an opportunity to form a tremendous team at second base."
Carroll assumes the role of Ronnie Belliard, who was acquired last summer for the bench and took the starting job from Orlando Hudson late in the season. Carroll also can play the outfield, although most of his games last year came at second base and third base.
The Dodgers' bench this winter could lose to free agency as many as six players -- Belliard, Brad Ausmus, Juan Castro, Mark Loretta, Doug Mientkiewicz and Jim Thome. The club is interested in bringing back Ausmus as their backup catcher. Castro has already signed with Philadelphia.
The deal is the second in as many days for the Dodgers, who freed up $8 million in payroll over the next two seasons by sending Juan Pierre to the Chicago White Sox Tuesday for two Minor League pitchers.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.