McDonald really had become the poster of what the Indians hunt for every year in a utility infielder. The issue with McDonald really turned out to be his durability. From 2000-2001, and then again in 2003, an injury would keep McDonald from performing at the top of his game, and ultimately, cost him this slot.
Carroll really was subtle excellence at the position. Carroll played both second and third for the Tribe, and could be the Indians Super-Utility player, since he played the corner outfield positions as well. Still, his excellent defense at all infield positions, plus his offense made him stand above McDonald.
Carroll immediately played dividends for the Indians when they signed him to a deal in 2008. Asdrubal Cabrera had started with the Indians in 2007, but would start the season with the Tribe for the first time in 2008. He struggled, and Carroll stepped in and started when the Indians would send Cabrera to Buffalo for much of June and July. He would make 66 starts at second for on the season. He would also make 18 starts at third base. Overall, his fielding percentage was .970+, and .990 at second base. Offensively, Carroll would smoke the ball after May, rolling out a .298 average. He would have a four-hit game, and end the season with a nine-game hit streak. He would end the season with a .277 average, and seven stolen bases. More than solid numbers for a utility guy.
Carroll had a similar story in 2009, just without as much opportunity. He would hit .276 in a few less at bats. His OBP was .355 for the second season in a row, and in a sorry season, was one of the few who consistently performed.
Carroll is never going to be THE guy in any line-up. What he is though, is the heartbeat of a team. Here's a guy who probably doesn't have many more tools as a ballplayer as you or I, but obviously works hard to be where he is. He's the epitome of what a utility player is. He's the glue that holds together a team. Unfortunately for the Tribe, there was more glue than team.
Carroll capped off his career with the Indians by winning the Frank Gibbons/Steve Olin Good Guy Award winner.
Like many Indians before him, Carroll's performance with the Tribe in the Aughts would ultimately price himself out of the Tribe's range. Carroll would ultimately sign on with the Dodgers as their utility guy, but not before we send Carroll off with his reward as the all-aught utility infielder for the Indians.