Ryan Doumit will be 30 years old at the start of the 2011 season. He has career averages of .268/.332/.438 but drops off significantly as a right-handed hitter. He's had a history of injuries and his defensive skills as a catcher are below average - Eli Whiteside, Ryan Hannigan, and Drew Butera all caught more runners stealing than Ryan D and only four MLB catchers had more errors last year. For all of that, Ryan D. will earn over $5,000,000 next year.
Here are some of the teams that have signed free agent catchers or re-signed an in-house option rather than work out a trade for Doumit:
* The Red Sox signed 39 year-old Jason Varitek, who hit .232 last year and was below average in throwing out base-runners. He’ll platoon with Jarrod Saltalamacchia, a former top prospect whose doesn’t appear to have hit his stride.
* The Marlines signed 30-year old John Buck, a career .243 hitter, for three years at 18 million total. Buck had a career year last year, but his batting average floated in the .220-.245 range before that.
* Yorvit Torrealba, Miguel Olivo, and A.J. Pierzynski all signed two-year deals in the $6-8 million dollar range ($3-4 million/year average). These three all hit around .270 with generally less power than Doumit. But they all threw out far more base-runners and had fewer errors.
* The Dodgers signed Rod Barajas and the Reds signed Ramon Hernandez to one-year deals in the $3 million dollar range. Even Joggin’ Ronny Paulino got picked up, although it was by the Mets who appear to be making moves worthy of Dave Littlefield.
So it looks like Doumit is overpaid as a catcher. By that I mean that the Pirates are paying him more than the market would if he were a free agent. Given that, it looks like we all can enjoy another season of BucFaninCA posting “D’oh!! mit” frequently on passed balls, misjudged fly balls, or a rally-killing GIDP. Unless the Pirates eat a loss, or at best swap for another bad contract (the Mets would probably give us Ollie Perez back at this point), Ryan Doumit is here to stay.