Saturday, June 30, 2012

Doumit and the three catcher roster

Ryan Doumit figures to stick around
Minnesota for a while.
Ryan Doumit and the Twins on Friday agreed to a two-year, $7 million contract extension.

This has been pretty well received in Twins land, perhaps less so elsewhere. Here's the case against re-upping him, as laid out by Hardball Talk's Matthew Pouliot, who makes some good points.

I'm not strongly opposed to the deal, but I'm not expecting big things from him either. Pouliot is right in this respect: The Twins have a good niche for Doumit, who broke down physically as a regular catcher in his time with Pittsburgh. I'm not sure there's another player available who fits that niche quite so well, and that is reason to hang on to Doumit.

With the Twins, he's basically a two-third-time player -- one or two days a week behind the plate, three or four days a week at DH. (He hasn't played in the outfield since May 4.)

One thing this usage pattern has meant is a job for a third catcher, since on most days either Doumit or Joe Mauer is the DH. Drew Butera is the mirror image of Doumit -- Butera a strong defensive catcher and a liability in the batter's box, Doumit a productive hitter (at least left-handed) and a poor receiver.

These days, Butera catches when Francisco Liriano pitches, which (a) puts a strong receiver back there to deal with Frankie's wildness, something Doumit struggles with, and (b) protects Mauer from having to deal with multiple sliders in the dirt. It's the catching equivalent of being a tackling dummy.

Why the deal now? I think the timing is related to the July trading season. As matters stood, Doumit was a free agent-to-be, and the Twins might well have shopped him around . I assume there was a tacit understanding between the two camps: Sign and stay. There probably isn't a no-trade clause, but Doumit's now officially in the Twins plans for a while.


  1. I fail to see any "good points" in Pouliot's article. It seems to be just repeating cliches about two year contracts.

    He ignores the fact that baseball is entertainment and part of that is promoting players as personalities. You don't want to invest in promoting a guy who will be gone in three months.

    There is little downside to this contract. It is doubtful he would have signed for less at the end of the season. So for next season it is at worst a wash. In fact, he likely took slightly less annually in order to get the two year deal.

    So this contract is really about 2014. The Twins look like they will still have a role for Doumit then. If he has a good season in 2013 he will cost more than this. He could well demand a multi-year contract, leaving the Twins to make the same calculation all over again. They would have to sign him through 2015 or let him walk.

    One thing to note is that Justin Morneau's contract ends in 2013. That will leave a hole in the middle of the order in 2014 that Doumit can step into. That will increase Doumit's bargaining power.

  2. Thia buys the team a couple years to develop a replacement. Doumit is not a long-term answer.

    We are basically tieing him up quick because the catcher depth in the system is nonexistent right at the moment and Ryan D. can catch a little bit here and there.

    Carrol probably will not make it to his 3rd season but Doumit, Willing-to-hammer and Carrol all expire after 2014.

    12: $2.75M
    13: $3.75M
    14: $2M club option ($0.25M buyout)

    TR is just trying to get to 2015. These 3 signings show Ryan knows the next window to make a run a developing something will occur in 2015.

    Also, it is now clear the philosophical differences that made Pohlad axe Smith was Smith thought minor tweaking was needed. Shows how over-matched Bill Smith was as a GM.

    Some of the kids will see September 2014 call-ups and Ryan is hoping he finds some answers and replacements ready from the low minors by 2015.

    The big elephant in the corner is the lack of pitching. Still has to find or invent those answers