The Minnesota Twins are nearing an extension with DH/catcher Ryan Doumit, who the club signed to a one year, $3 million deal this offseason.The news was first reported by Jerry Crasnick of ESPN. Doumit has been splitting time with Joe Mauer at catcher and DH, allowing Mauer's valuable bat to get plugged into the lineup more consistently.
But while Doumit has value as a decent hitting catcher...he's not a great hitting DH. Doumit has a .775 OPS and seven homers on the season, which would rank in the middle of the pack for catchers, but near the bottom of the heap among designated hitters. However, when you look at the Twins catcher situation as a whole (which includes Doumit as well as Mauer), their OPS is .806, one of the top marks in the league. Minnesota's DH platoon (Doumit, Mauer, and first baseman Justin Morneau) has an .859 OPS, the second best mark in the league.
I think Minnesota's fascination with Doumit isn't his abilities, but how well he complements the Twins. Mauer is under contract making eight figures a year until the end of time (or 2018, whichever happens first), and Morneau is under contract until next season at $15 million a year. Both players have been banged up in recent year, with Morneau having endless concussion problems, and Mauer dealt with knee problems (a huge warning sign for a catcher) and viral issues last season. Doumit's presence allows the Twins to give both of their stars rest, while not thrusting playing time onto a replacement level guy.
As long as the money or the length of this deal aren't too out of bounds, I don't see much of a problem with it. Doumit's 31, and his best years are probably just about finished. With a one win season being worth around $4.5 million this year, I don't see giving Doumit up to $5 million for a couple of years as a huge issue for the Twins.
UPDATE: Two year, $7 million for Doumit. Yeah, that's a pretty good deal for the Twins. Doumit gets a minor raise, and the Twins are still paying him like less than a one win player.
Photo courtesy of Daylife.com
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