Just kidding. Thanks to The Dugout, I utter Doumit’s Dugout “screen name,” which is “god_doumit,” anytime I hear his name. Anyway, I feel like the Twins made a great signing with Doumit. Considering that he’s only signed for 1 year and $3 million, this certainly as the potential of being a great signing. Even better than the Carroll signing.
This signing does carry some risk. Doumit would probably be one of the last players the Twins would want to sign due to his own injury woes over his career, and with the track record our team’s medical staff has accumulated over the past couple years, there’s a high probability that he might lose an arm this upcoming season. Then, the athletic trainers might acknowledge his missing limb by saying, “Wait, we thought you were always missing an arm!” but I digress.
Seriously though, the belief is that Doumit will minimize his risk of more injuries by moving away from catcher, which was his primary position when he was with Pittsburgh. He does have some versatility as he can play 1st base and right field in addition to catcher, but I’d treat his “versatility” as I would treat Michael Cuddyer’s versatility. In other words, he’s versatile only in the sense that he’s willing to play other positions, even though he’s not necessarily good at those other positions. If you want to go by UZR, Doumit rates as below average at first base and a little above average in right field, but he hasn’t even tallied a full season’s worth of action at either position. Therefore, you can take those UZRs for what they are worth, and that appears to be not very much.
Even if Doumit is a poor defender, the primary reason he was signed (in addition to his “versatility”) was because of his bat. A career .271/.334/.442 hitter, he will add a little punch to a lineup that was certainly missing it last season. Aaron Gleeman noted that Doumit’s career triple-slash line is eerily similar to Cuddyer’s, so some might see Doumit as a cheaper, switch-hitting version of Cuddy. Hey, I can’t argue with acquiring a poor man’s Cuddyer.
One knock on Doumit’s bat would be his offense from the right side of the plate. When he’s batting lefthanded, he did a great job (.275/.336/.471), but his power disappeared when he switched to the other side of home (.262/.328/.389). This, along with his lack of defense at catcher makes him a less than ideal backup to Joe Mauer, but if Mauer remembers how to hit lefthanded pitching next year, the Twins could breathe a little easier with having Doumit fill in against a RHP.
Of course, the Twins could punt that strategy altogether and just go with the 3 catcher option. At least this time around, the 2 backup catchers won’t be redundant in skills, a la the Drew Butera/Steve Holm/Rene Rivera triangle from last year. Plus, it’s possible that Butera would stick with being the primary backup, with Doumit filling in only if Mauer goes down with another injury. If this is the strategy the Twins are going, I think I can live with this.
Overall, I really like this signing. The Twins have added a relatively cheap bat to the lineup, and they’ve found a nice backup player for several positions, something they’ve been lacking in years past. Now, let’s turn our attention to Josh Willingham.