- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Washington Nationals sold the contract of infielder Jamey Carroll to the Colorado Rockies yesterday and also prepared to make their final pitch to free agent slugger Sammy Sosa.

Carroll, a member of the Nationals’ organization his entire career and one of the most popular players in the clubhouse, was sold to the Rockies for $300,000. General manager Jim Bowden said the offseason additions of infielders Marlon Anderson, Damian Jackson and Royce Clayton (the latter to a minor league deal) and the emergence of minor leaguer Brendan Harris left Carroll a long shot to make the club out of spring training.

“Jamey was not going to make this team,” Bowden said. “And because of how strong our personal feelings were toward Jamey, we felt we owed it to him to make this move prior to the start of camp.”

Carroll, a favorite of manager Frank Robinson, hit .251 with 22 RBI in 113 games last year and owns a .269 career average. Robinson went so far last summer to declare that “if Jamey goes, I’m gone” when it appeared Washington might have to remove an infielder from its roster.

The 70-year-old manager again stood up for Carroll, who had signed a non-guaranteed, $700,000 contract, during several offseason meetings with Bowden.

“Frank made it very clear he wanted Jamey on this team,” Bowden said. “But at the end of the day, a manager doesn’t always have to agree with his general manager, and vice versa. … On certain teams, I think Jamey is the ideal 25th player. Unfortunately with our club, we needed more than that.”

It has been a difficult winter for Carroll, who only three months ago bought a home near the Nationals’ spring complex in Viera, Fla. His mother, Patty, died in early December after a brief illness.

“I really hadn’t been following things as closely as I normally do,” said Carroll, who will turn 32 on Saturday. “Stuff like that kind of puts things in perspective, tells you what’s really important.

“You know, my mom’s favorite color was purple. So maybe this was some of her doing,” he added, referring to a Colorado uniform color.

Washington now has a 40-man roster opening that could be filled if Sosa accepts the club’s standing offer of a non-guaranteed, major league contract.

However, club sources indicated last night they believe it’s doubtful the star outfielder will sign with the Nationals. Bowden had dinner with Sosa’s agent, Adam Katz, in Los Angeles, during which time he was expected to insist on a prompt decision from the 37-year-old slugger, who is mulling retirement.

“We can’t let this drag on until spring training,” a club official said. “This can’t be a distraction when pitchers and catchers report [on Friday].”

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