By The Common Man
Now this is more like it. In signing Ryan Doumit to a one-year, $3 million contract (as reported by ESPN's Jerry Crasnick), Terry Ryan matches a player's skills with what the Twins need, and does so at a very reasonable price.
Jamey Carroll, as we discussed last week, is a good player at second base, but is probably stretched as a team's everyday shortstop. He's also going to be 38 and is a candidate for regression. The Twins still committed two years and $7 million to him, when it was not clear that the market would pay him that much and there were potentially better shortstop options available.
Doumit, on the other hand, is a 31 year old, switch hitting catcher, first baseman, corner outfielder, and potential designated hitter who is coming off one of the best offensive season of his career. He's been better against righties in his career than against lefties, but he still remains a passable hitter from the right side, especially when he's behind the plate. When he's behind the plate, though, he's not strong defensively. His arm is very passable, but he has trouble blocking pitches in the dirt. He also has never played more than 124 games in a season due to a significant injury history.
That said, he represents a terrific option off the bench, where the Twins will be able to spot him and use him creatively to rest their front-line talent given his positional flexibility. He also will be a non-embarrassing fallback position should Joe Mauer or Justin Morneau suffer from injuries or ineffectiveness again. Most importantly, the Twins have absolutely no long-term risk here if Doumit's play or the Twins season goes south. Doumit is signed for just the one year and the money it took to sign him is incredibly reasonable. This is a smart move by Terry Ryan and the new Twins regime, and still leaves them with significant money to play with as they still look to upgrade the outfield, rotation and bullpen.