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All-Aught Indians: Utility: Jolbert Cabrera (2000-2002)

Jolbert Cabrera

Jolbert Cabrera

Utility infielders and utility outfielders have become extremely valuable resources in the game of baseball. For the Indians over the years, players such as John McDonald and Jamey Carroll have established themselves as key bench players. Players such as ex-Detroit Tiger’s uber-utility players Tony Phillips and ex-Angel and current Mariner Chone Figgins have re-invented the position.

Phillips became the first player to start ten games at five different positions, while Figgins started 35+ games at third base, centerfield and second all in the same season. The Indians have utilized several players in a similar fashion over the years. Most recently, Jamey Carroll had found time at second and third base right and left field. Prior to Carroll, Casey Blake carried the uber-utility slot for the Tribe, playing third and first base, right and left field, as well as DH during his tenure with the Tribe. He started at third base for the Tribe in 2003 and 2004, moved to the outfield for 2005 and 2006, then moved back to third base for 2007 and most of 2008.

Throughout his tenure, he periodically started at the other positions. Unfortunately for Blake, he doesn’t qualify for the All-Aught slot because he started most games at one position from year to year. Even though Carroll should qualify, I’m excluding him because he didn’t play much outfield, and really didn’t play much outfield in his tenure with the Tribe. Besides, Carroll is already a part of this team.

So I’m going all homer on this one.

The All-Aught Indians utility player is Jolbert Cabrera.
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All-Aught Indians: Back-up Infielder: Jamey Carroll (2008-2009)

Jamey Carroll

Jamey Carroll

Is there a more unsung job in baseball than the utility infielder?

These are the specialized players that are signed to a contract because they can play tough defense, and generally they can do it at more than one position.

Can they hit?

I hate to stereotype, but not likely. If you find a back-up infielder that has a stick, nine times out of ten, they end up starting.

The Indians have had two clear back-up infielders over the past ten years that were in the running for this position. Some may say three, but Asdrubal Cabrera was brought up as a starter at second base, so he’s excluded. Instead, the energy focuses on the guy who opened the decade at the position, and the guy who closed it out. John McDonald really put a stamp as the utility infielder from the Tribe from 2000-2004, while Jamey Carroll took over the role in 2008 and 2009. Both were fantastic infielders, but where they differed in two key areas. Carroll had far superior offense, and also had more opportunity to play. McDonald played 2nd, 3rd and short, while Carroll only played 2nd and 3b, while spending some time in the outfield. Still, Carroll’s offense takes him over the top.

The All-Aught Indians back-up infielder is Jamey Carroll.

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