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.

Morris, Trammell, humbled and emotional at being elected to the Hall of Fame

Associated Press
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla — Jack Morris and Alan Trammell met the press 18 hours after learning that they were elected to the Hall of Fame. Trammell was still humbled. Morris was still emotional, breaking up numerous times as he answered reporters questions. When Morris did manage to compose himself, he said a couple of pretty interesting things. Even some funny things.

“I want all the writers to know, I’m not mad at any of you,” Morris said, addressing the baseball writers, who for 15 years failed to vote him into the Hall of Fame. Morris, who at some points over his time on the ballot was, in fact, quite cranky about not being elected, struck a more conciliatory tone this morning, admitting that he did not fully understand the baseball analytics upon which many voters relied in judging him more negatively than he was judged during his playing career. There was a suggestion in his tone that, perhaps, the voters had a point about his relative place in the game and that he understood that now a bit better than he might’ve a few years ago. Not that he’s too hung up on it. “Now that I’m in, I don’t have to worry about any of it,” Morris added.

Trammell never came particularly close to election when he was on the writer’s ballot while Morris only fell a couple of votes short. One could be excused, however, if one thought that he’d thought more about what he’d say on the occasion of his election than Morris did.  “To be part of a dream team, you can’t envision that. As a young boy, all I wanted was to become a major league baseball player,” Trammell said. “And now to be a Hall of Famer . . . it’s indescribable.” For Morris part, he said that he had a lot of practice over the years in responding to reporters asking him about not being elected and that he was prepared to do so again this week. He seemed genuinely surprised that he made it as evidenced by his emotional, off-the-cuff responses to questions.

Both players were asked about their longtime manager Sparky Anderson and both talked warmly about him while acknowledging his often tough love.

Morris said Sparky made him a ballplayer. Trammell said that he and the other young Tigers players who broke into pro ball in the mid-to-late 70s thought they knew what they were doing but that “Sparky showed me I didn’t know squat.” He said that he could field well when he was young but that his hitting lagged. Trammell would, of course, turn into an excellent offensive shortstop, and that a lot of that was due to Anderson’s motivation. “He batted me ninth and I didn’t want to bat ninth . . . he told me when I hit it looked like I was swinging a wet newspaper.” Morris said that he thought of Anderson as “a father and older brother in one.” He said Sparky would make him angry but that he’d never be the pitcher he was if it wasn’t for him.

Trammell, as expected, was asked about his longtime double play mate Lou Whitaker, who was also on the Veterans’ Committee Ballot but who did not gain induction despite a Hall-worthy resume.

“We’re linked together, as we should be,” Trammell said. He said that it has long been his dream to be inducted at the same time as Whitaker. “The dream didn’t happen that we’d go in together this year, but I’m hoping that someday it does happen.” Trammell said. “I’m entitled to my opinion and my dreams.”

Finally, both Morris and Whitaker were asked about Marvin Miller, the groundbreaking and history-making union chief who, once again, was denied election.

Trammell said he’s thankful for Miller and hopes the young players recognize what he did. He says he’d be shocked if Miller is not inducted one day. Morris echoed those comments. “There’s a whole generation of players who have no idea who he was or what he did . . . I’ll always be a strong supporter of him.”

Each player then left the stage and began to be swarmed by reporters in small group sessions. It’s just the beginning of a seven-month whirlwind between now and July 29, when each will be inducted to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.