|Ryan Doumit figures to stick around|
Minnesota for a while.
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.