Friday morning I hopped onto a jet and took a trip from my Miami home up to Jacksonville, FL to take care of some work related issues. When I returned home this morning the news was everywhere, free agent catcher Ryan Doumit had signed a one-year deal with the Twins for a reported 3-million plus incentives. The signing of Doumit, who had a 2011 slash of .303/.353/.477, is the second substantial signing for the Twins major league club this off-season. With the addition of Jamey Carroll and Doumit, the Twins have addressed two of their biggest off-season needs. While both the rotation and the bullpen could use an additional piece, the Twins, under Terry Ryan 2.0, are restoring hope to the ball club after a miserable 2011 season. If Doumit can hit at anywhere near his 2011 numbers and stay healthy, he’ll be a steal at 3million.
If the Twins indeed hope to keep their payroll at 100mil for the season, there is still around 11mil left for Terry Ryan to play with going forward, and while that will most assuridly not be enough to bring back Cuddyer or Kubel, it’s more than enough to address some of the other weaknesses on the roster.
Doumit, a switch hitter with significant pop, who came up in the Pirates organization (drafted in the 2nd round of the 1999 amateur player draft), is considered by most to be a liability behind the plate (Doumit was ranked 4th/5th/4th in errors by a C during 2008/09/10, in 2008 (106 games) and 2010(100 games) Doumit finished 1st and 2nd in past balls allowed), but his bat will be a welcome addition to the line-up. In addition to providing an insurance policy in case Joe Mauer cannot catch 120+ games, and as a big bat off the bench, Doumit could also fill a corner outfield spot (60 career appearances in RF), DH or even play 1B in an emergency (35 career appearances at 1B) for our hometown heros. Doumit’s versatility allows him to fit surprisingly well into holes in the Twins roster, clearly the addition of Doumit could prove to be increasingly important as the futures of Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel and (the health of) Justin Morneau unfold.