Ryan Doumit

Ryan Doumit extension shows Twins still living in the past

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This two-year, $7 million contract extension is a signing from 2002.

Ryan Doumit is exactly the kind of player a smart team would go year to year with. He is…

a) over 30
b) injury prone
c) below average defensively wherever he plays

Doumit’s career highs are 124 games, 431 at-bats, 15 homers and 69 RBI. He had his best season four years ago when he was 27. He was also very good last season, but it was in 218 at-bats. This year, he’s also been quite good so far, though we’re still talking about a .775 OPS. He had a .718 OPS eight days ago.

I like Doumit. His body wasn’t made to withstand the rigors of catching regularly, but the Twins seem to have carved out a great niche for him this year; he’s on pace to catch 60 games and DH in about 50 more. There’s a fair enough chance he’ll stay relatively healthy and maintain something close to that .775 OPS the rest of the way, and in Target Field, that makes him a fair asset.

But that’s 2012. He’s only going to be a worse bet going forward. The Twins were able to sign him to a one-year, $3 million contract as a free agent over the winter, and nothing that’s happened since has made him a better bet for age-32 and -33 seasons.

Ignoring for a moment the fact that the Twins seem to be working to keep together their probable 95-loss team, smart clubs don’t give out multiyear deals unless there’s real upside to them. Given his lack of a position, Doumit would have had to go on a serious tear for anyone to ante up even a two-year, $10 million offer to him this winter, and little in his history suggests it was likely to happen. Doumit suffering a serious injury that would have negatively affected his value headed into 2013 is a  much more likely scenario.

This is just one of those completely unnecessary multiyear deals we don’t see quite as often these days as we used to. Obviously, it’s not going to bankrupt the franchise if it doesn’t work out, but there also isn’t much to be gained. The Twins could have waited until the winter and made sure they still wanted him back.

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.

Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.

In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.

Orioles reconsidering signing Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.

The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.

Freddy Garcia is calling it a career

Screenshot 2016-02-07 at 10.16.43 AM
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MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.

Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.

“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”

Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.

Video: 2016 will be a season to remember

Carlos+Correa+Houston+Astros+v+Arizona+Diamondbacks+Ctyu5RiU3SWl
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MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.

It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.