While you never want to be cast aside by the only team you’ve ever called home for your entire professional career, the Pirates refusal to pick up Ryan Doumit’s $7.25M option may have been the best thing that could have happened to him as a baseball player. It may have been nice to continue playing for a team whose amazing turnaround in 2011 caught the eyes of MLB and its fans, but in an effort to extend his playing career, Doumit needed to move on. His time in Pittsburgh has run its course. He needs to go somewhere that can showcase that offensive potential that has had us champing at the bit since he first showed up in 2005. He needs to go somewhere where his defense behind the plate won’t be such a liability. He needs to go to the American League.
According to a variety of sources, Doumit is expected to sign with a new team “within the next few days.” There has been little mention of which teams are courting the 30 year old, switch hitting backstop, but there are supposedly a number of teams interested in his services. One team, the Dodgers, supposedly offered him a one year deal worth almost $3M, but word is that he turned them down. The Angels have also been linked to him via the rumor mill, but considering the fact that Mike Scioscia had Mike Napoli perpetually in the doghouse due to defensive shortcomings, it’s difficult to see him wanting to add Doumit to the Halo’s catcher mix.
But the American League is where he needs to be. He needs to go somewhere that he can still play a part time role behind the plate, maintain that catcher eligibility for us fantasy owners, and DH the rest of the time to spare that brittle body of his any more time on the disabled list. Only twice in his seven year career has he appeared in more than 100 games in a season, and never more than 124. As a C/DH, much in the way Napoli has blossomed in Texas, Doumit can really put his skills at the plate on display. It can be difficult to sift through the number fluctuations due to limited playing time throughout the years, but things like a .171 ISO, a 17.2 K% and an 11.1% HR/FB for career totals definitely stand out.
There are a few situations that may open up in the AL, that can afford Doumit the opportunity to shine. If the Red Sox lose David Ortiz via free agency, Doumit could easily split time some time with Jarrod Saltalamacchia behind the plate and DH the rest of the way. He could do the same in Baltimore — spell Matt Wieters a game or two a week and work more as a full time DH. Seattle and Tampa Bay are also possible destinations. We’ll know more in the coming days, but if Doumit lands in the right situation for 2012, there’s a strong chance that we finally get not just a productive season, but a full season from him as well.