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Tribe, Rockies complete Carroll deal

Tribe, Rockies complete deal

CLEVELAND -- Two teams that were very nearly World Series partners were, instead, trading partners on Friday.

The Indians and Rockies completed a deal in which the Tribe will receive utility infielder Jamey Carroll in exchange for a player to be named later. With the trade, which was officially announced on Saturday, the Indians filled up their last vacant position for 2008, and the Rockies freed up some payroll.

Carroll, 33, will be in the final year of a two-year contract and will make $2.3 million next season. The Indians will assume what remains of his 2008 salary and will have a club option on him for '09.

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The Rockies will select the player to be named from a list already agreed to by the two clubs. Indians general manager Mark Shapiro did not reveal the deadline for that selection, but did say that it will be at some point in the '08 season.

Shapiro feels Carroll addresses the Tribe's most pressing need for the bench.

"Because of his defensive ability at second base and shortstop, the fact that he's an average to above average runner and his experience, we feel [Carroll] complements our guys well," Shapiro said. "Given the universe of guys out there, we thought he was a good fit."

Though the Indians already have Andy Marte and Josh Barfield as potential depth options at third base and second base, respectively, they pinpointed a utility infielder with range up the middle and a little speed on the basepaths as a need for '08.

As the roster currently stands, Marte, who is out of Minor League options, would be a backup to third baseman Casey Blake. Barfield, coming off a rough offensive year, would most likely get everyday at-bats at Triple-A Buffalo.

Carroll could spell Asdrubal Cabrera at second base and free Cabrera to spell Jhonny Peralta at shortstop on some days.

"This is an exciting opportunity for me, and it's good to know that teams see value in me," Carroll told MLB.com. "I'm going to a team that finished one game away from the World Series and playing against the Rockies. I'm going to play a utility role, and I'm good with that. I'm always prepared. I'm ready to do anything to help the Indians."

The Indians had the option of re-signing free agent Chris Gomez, who was their utility man at the end of '07. But with Marte likely in the mix, they wanted to find someone a little more agile in the field and on the bases.

Enter Carroll, who owns a career average of .272 with 69 doubles, 13 triples, nine homers and 112 RBIs in 580 games over six seasons with the Expos, Nationals and Rockies.

Carroll was the Rockies' starting second baseman in 2006, batting .300 in 463 at-bats. But he shifted back to a utility role this past season, used largely as a late defensive replacement. He played 60 games at second base, 35 at third, 11 at short and three in the outfield, while batting just .225 with 22 RBIs in 227 at-bats.

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Carroll has a career fielding percentage of .986, and has stolen 30 bases in 51 career attempts.

The player to be named will be a Minor Leaguer, but it likely won't be Triple-A right-hander Sean Smith, who had at one time been discussed as part of the deal.

To make room for Carroll on the 40-man roster, the Indians designated right-hander J.D. Martin for assignment. The 24-year-old Martin was a first-round sandwich pick in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft, but his professional career has been held up by elbow problems. He went 2-3 with a 4.25 ERA in nine starts at Double-A Akron this season.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Thomas Harding contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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