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Carroll could be too costly for Tribe

Carroll could be too costly for Tribe

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indians are looking for a utility infielder, and their only prominent free agent from the 2009 club happens to be a utility infielder they remain fond of.

When you put it that way, it stands to reason the Tribe would show interest in re-signing Jamey Carroll.

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But Carroll made $2.5 million last year and is probably in line for a raise. And for the budget-conscious, rebuilding Indians, who only have six signed players set to make more than $2.5 million next year, Carroll's price is likely to be too steep to pay.

Still, Carroll's agent, Jonathan Maurer, said the possibility exists for Carroll and the Indians to come to terms.

"Jamey Carroll has greatly enjoyed his time in Cleveland," Maurer wrote in an e-mail. "While we are entertaining offers from other teams, we have not ruled out Cleveland because of this simple fact: Management is good, the city is good and this team can compete in their division."

It appears, however, that there is considerable competition for Carroll's services. The Angels, Dodgers, Red Sox, A's, Marlins, Pirates and Reds have all reportedly shown interest in Carroll.

"The market for free-agent infielders is quite good, and the numbers of teams that have contacted us is indicative of Jamey's value to any team wishing to win ballgames," Maurer wrote. "No matter what the outcome, Jamey's time in Cleveland has been a great experience."

Carroll was acquired by the Tribe two years ago in a trade with the Rockies. While the team's performance since that trade has fallen short of expectations, Carroll excelled. He batted .276 with 23 doubles, six triples, three homers and 62 RBIs in 206 games with the Indians and was solid at second base, third base and shortstop, as well as the corner outfield spots. He was the regular at second base for a six-week span in 2008, when Asdrubal Cabrera was injured, and he served as the right-handed-hitting complement to Luis Valbuena at second last year, getting starts against left-handed pitchers.

The Indians value a right-handed bat for their utility role for 2010, but they'll obviously be looking for affordable value.

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

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