Earlier this week Pittsburgh added Matt Diaz to the outfield mix with a two-year, $4.25 million contract and now Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that the Pirates “are trying hard to deal” Ryan Doumit despite general manager Neal Huntington calling him the team’s starting right fielder just a few days ago.
Doumit made 91 of his 111 starts at catcher this year, but Chris Snyder is slated to start behind the plate in 2011 and Doumit was seemingly set to platoon in right field while serving as his backup.
However, according to Langosch the Pirates are aggressively shopping Doumit and “have made it known to other general managers that the club is willing to eat some of his salary.” He’s owed $5.1 million in 2011 and the Pirates also hold 2012 and 2013 team options for a total of $15.5 million.
Not so long ago Doumit was a very promising young catcher with a big bat, but his shaky defense behind the plate hasn’t been as easy to live with while he hit just .251 with a .728 OPS over the past two seasons. He’s a switch-hitter who’s never had much success versus lefties, but a career line of .272/.336/.461 versus righties could make him a decent option if the Pirates foot around half the bill.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.