Friday, November 13, 2009

Should the Pirates Trade Ryan Doumit?

After the Pirates traded Nate McLouth last spring, I figured the Pirates would be building around Ryan Doumit and his team friendly contract. Well, maybe not:
"Pirates switch hitter Ryan Doumit drew interest from several teams during this week's general managers' meetings in Chicago, multiple Major League sources said Thursday.

The sources believe Pittsburgh would not hesitate to move Doumit, 28, in the right deal. The Pirates have dealt a number of veteran players since Neal Huntington took over as general manager at the end of the 2007 season.

Doumit batted .250 with 10 home runs and 38 RBIs in an injury-shortened 2009 season. But his appeal is twofold: Doumit has the potential to hit for power, as evidenced by his .858 OPS in 2008, and he has big-league experience as a catcher, first baseman and right fielder.

There is a range of opinion within the industry as to which position suits him best. While he's not considered a superb defender anywhere on the diamond, his versatility could appeal to teams that need to add a power bat — but aren't entirely sure where."
Tough call for the Pirates here.

On one hand, the free agent market for catchers is horribly weak this offseason, so the Pirates could conceivably capitalize on a barren market and get a nice package in return for Doumit. There could be a number of teams interested in Doumit- the Mets, Giants, Blue Jays, Rays, Royals, Brewers, and more could have some interest in the Pirates backstop. The Pirates might be able to get back some upper echelon prospects in return and hopefully help the Pirates move forward with their rebuilding process.

However, the Pirates have to wonder if they would be selling low on Doumit. Here is a guy, who is just a year removed from hitting .318 with 15 HR and 71 RBI. Doumit was one of the best hitting catchers in the NL in 2008, but he missed a large chunk of the 2009 seasons because of injuries. Doumit seems to be one of the few young catchers out there with a nice upside at the dish and he certainly did not have one of his better seasons in 2009.

In addition, Doumit's contract makes him a very valuable commodity to the Pirates because he is under team control for the next four years (including two team options) at a very reasonable rate ($23-$24 million total). He is one of the few players that the Pirates can build around in the future and trading him would be another blow for the fan base, who watched the Pirates' roster get purged last summer.

My advice: unless the Pirates are completely overwhelmed by an offer, they should hold onto Doumit.

Should the Pirates look to trade Doumit? Let us know in the comments.

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