If Casey Blake did not exist for Eric Wedge, it would be necessary to invent him. Like many people, I was relieved to see the Indians trade Blake. It seemed like an opportunity to find out finally what the team (particularly Marte) could do, once Wedge had no choice but to play someone other than Casey.
But damn if Wedge didn't find another guy to fill the role of gamer. Perhaps these sorts of gamers are projections of Wedge's view of himself as a player, and of what he considers to be the ideal ball player.
Carroll—whose middle name is Blake, after all—is from Evansville, the other end of the state from Wedge's hometown, Fort Wayne. (Don Mattingly is also from Evansville, by the way.) Jamey's alma mater, University of Evansville, even plays Wichita State in baseball.
Do the Indians need this again? Jamey Carroll will be 35 years old next year. He is on a pace this season to have the second-highest number of at bats in his major league career. He already has the second-highest total bases in his major league career. He has a career OPS+ of 81. His minor league career was similarly undistinguished. He had a .679 OPS over 785 games in the minors.
Considering his current favored status, I wonder: Has Carroll played himself into a starting role for next year? Maybe the general manager will remember previous infatuations—Ramon Vazquez says hi—and forbid Wedge from playing Jamey every goddamn day. But, as we've seen, Wedge can be foxy when it comes to filling out his lineup card.
Carroll has proved to be a valuable utility guy. The Tribe had a utility guy name of Blake who became a superutility guy and then got stuck every day at third base. Perhaps this is just another way of grousing about the treatment of Marte, but is it possible that the manager is smitten all over again?