Yes, it's the question that's burning through the highways and byways of the Keystone State: What should the Pirates do with Ryan Doumit when he comes off the DL? Dejan Kovacevic lays (almost) everything out: Doumit
- It is difficult to imagine, given several pointed circumstances, that the Pirates have not discussed the possibility of moving Ryan Doumit from catcher to another position once he returns to the lineup.
When general manager Neal Huntington was asked yesterday if that were the case, this was his emailed reply: "While we are pleased with the production of Jason Jaramillo and Robinzon Diaz, our intention at this point in time is to return a healthy Ryan Doumit to our lineup as our catcher."
Huntington did not elaborate, nor acknowledge if there had been such a discussion.
Be certain that Doumit would prefer to stay behind the plate. And that, based on his history at the other two positions, right field -- which he genuinely seemed to embrace at the time -- would be preferred to first base.
Doumit is expected back from rehabilitating his right thumb early next month.
Among those aforementioned circumstances:
• Doumit has experience in right field and at first base, though he was far better in right. His arm was a defensive weapon in his brief time there, and the ground he would have to cover would be highly limited because of Andrew McCutchen and Nyjer Morgan.
• If first baseman Adam LaRoche is traded, the Pirates have no obvious replacement. Steve Pearce has done better of late for Class AAA Indianapolis -- .277, 10 home runs -- but his offensive track record is no match for Doumit's.
• The Pirates just made a catcher, Tony Sanchez, their first-round draft pick. He is seen as advanced enough defensively to fast-track to Pittsburgh.
• This might be most important: If Doumit plays right field or first base, his chances of playing more often -- and staying healthier -- greatly improve. Given the Pirates' near-tragic dearth of power, that facet might trump all.
Well, yeah. Doumit's a pretty good hitter. He's also 28, and it's quite possible that we saw his best last year. Granted, maybe getting out from behind the plate would help some. But if I were the Pirates, I don't know that I would bet on it. There's a pretty good chance that within a year or two, Doumit won't hit enough to play first base, or right field.
Maybe the Pirates should trade Adam LaRoche. And here's a thought: Maybe they should trade Ryan Doumit, too. Let's assume he comes back strong in a few weeks ... Wouldn't a power-hitting catcher who's under club control through 2013 be attractive to at least a few teams with prospects to spare?
Jaramillo and Diaz are both playing over their heads. But if the Pirates really and truly believe that Tony Sanchez is their Catcher of the Future, there's little sense in hanging on to Doumit for another four years. Or for that matter, for another four weeks.