Holy Cow, GM Terry Ryan has been busy, on the job less than two weeks and he has signed Jamey Carroll and now today the Twins announced they have signed C/1B/OF Ryan Doumit to a $3 million one year deal pending a physical. The deal apparently has some incentives and that is a good thing because the switch-hitting Ryan Doumit comes to Minnesota with some baggage. Injury type of baggage, in the form of a concussion history and that is not a good thing for a catcher.
Doumit was drafted in the 2nd round of the 1999 June free agent draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates as a catcher and has been in the Pirates organization ever since. Doumit made his major league debut in June of 2005. Although not rated as a strong catcher defensively, in his 7 big league seasons Doumit has played in 521 games but he has caught in 426 games, played the OF in 60 and played 1B in 35 games. Injuries have limited Doumit’s time in the line-up and he has never had more than 465 plate appearances in any of his 7 big league seasons.
OK, Ryan Doumit has an injury history but he is still a very nice pick-up and worth the gamble as I see it. Doumit has suffered injuries such as a broken thumb, broken wrist, and a fractured ankle not to mention the concussion issues I brought up earlier. He can play three positions and is a switch-hitter and will be 31 when the season starts in April. He has a little pop in his bat as his 67 home runs in 611 games attest and he has a .271 career average although he did hit only .250 in 2009, and .251 in 2010 but he hit .303 in 77 games last year.
I like the signing but if you think this will send Drew Butera packing you need to think again. Doumit is weak defensively and his strength is offense so there is no way that Gardy keeps him on the bench strictly as a back-up catcher day in and day out. Doumit will be in the line-up some where most of the time so Gardy still needs to have a back-up catcher available and that man will probably be Butera or another catcher with some defensive skills. If Doumit is the DH, Gardy will not want to risk losing his DH if he would suddenly need Doumit to catch. Even if Butera fails to make the team, I see no way the Twins do not carry three catchers next year. In spite of needing to carry three catchers, I like this signing and I give GM Ryan a big thumbs up. Keep working those phones Mr. Ryan, a starting pitcher would be nice and the outfield is still a big question mark.
The Twins also announced they have signed yet another relief pitcher to a minor league deal, this time it is former Angel Jason Bulger. Jason is a right hander and stands 6’4″ and goes about 210 and will be 33 in a couple of weeks. Bulger has been in the big leagues off and on with the D-Backs and the Angels since 2005 but has only appeared in 125 games with a 7-2 record. Bulger is another of those relief pitchers with control issues as his career mark of 5.1 BB/9 will tell you.
Finally, the Twins also announced that they plan to add another bronze statue of a former player outside Target Field next year but as yet the player has yet to be publicly identified. He would join statues of Harmon Killebrew, Kirby Puckett, Rod Carew, Tony Oliva and the late Twins owner Carl Pohlad and his wife Eloise. Who is it going to be? My guess would be Bert Blyleven and my dark horse choice would be Kent Hrbek. We will find out soon enough.
UPDATE November 23 – The Twins announced that they have officially signed free-agent catcher Ryan Doumit to a one-year deal worth $3 million.