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.