Cross one name off the trade deadline "selling" list. Ryan Doumit is here to stay – at least for the foreseeable future.
Pleased with the impact of their offseason acquisition, the Twins announced Friday that they've signed the backup catcher and frequent DH to a two-year contract extension worth $7 million.
As the 2011 season came to a close, it had become clear that the catcher position was in drastic need of an upgrade. Joe Mauer, battling assorted health issues, had posted a disappointing .239/.328/.324 line while behind the plate; meanwhile, his backups hit an anemic .158/.209/.227.
With Mauer's wellness still in question, the Twins needed to add a player who could fill in behind the plate. Among the list of available free agents, Ryan Doumit stood out as an ideal fit
. A capable backstop with enough lumber to fill in at positions like right field and designated hitter, and with a modest price tag.
Terry Ryan clearly liked those attributes and got him at a bargain: one year, $3 million. Doumit has lived up to expectations. There's a bit more risk involved with his new contract, of course, but we're talking about $3.5 million per year here. That's about what the Twins threw away on seven starts from Jason Marquis this year; about what they're paying Tsuyoshi Nishioka to play in Rochester.
Unlike those two, Doumit has already proven his usefulness. His flexibility suits this club's needs well, now and going forward, and while he's not the kind of dominant bat you build your lineup around he adds some nice switch-hitting punch to the bottom half.
Doumit is on the wrong side of 30 and not hugely athletic to begin with, so there exists a real possibility that his decline phase will hit before this contract is over. He's also been injured a lot during his career, and one healthy half hardly erases that history.
Nevertheless, the Twins are taking a relatively minor risk here and the (very realistic) upside is that Doumit keeps doing what he's been doing – this year and most of his career – while staying fairly healthy in a role that is designed to keep him that way.
Simply put, he has more value to this team than as a trade chip, especially at the price they've locked him up for. This is a great deal from any perspective.
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