With the 2011 season over, the old saying, “There’s always next season,” instantly becomes all Mets fan’s credo. But before we can think about riding the 7-train out to Flushing again, there is a whole off-season to project and pontificate about. Considering the amount of holes the Mets will have, this coming off-season holds a lot of importance.
In this new on-going series, Rising Apple will analyze potential off-season targets for the New York Mets. Today’s target at-hand is soon to be free agent catcher Ryan Doumit.
The Ryan Doumit bandwagon first commenced in 2007 when the 26 year-old catcher hit an explosive .274/.341/.472 line with 9 homeruns, 32 RBI, and 33 runs in just 279 plate appearances for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Doumit’s offensive talents pushed incumbent Ronny Paulino out of a starting gig, and immediately ushered in the “Ryan Doumit Era.” As a starter in 2008, the catcher did not disappoint (despite breaking his thumb), smacking an even better .318/.357/.501 line with 15 homeruns, 69 RBI, and 71 runs. The good play earned the switch-hitter a three-year extension worth $11.5 million–including a $7.25 million club option for 2012.
However, Doumit’s long withstanding injury troubles continued in 2009. The catcher endured a wrist injury in late-April, which was later diagnosed as a fracture in his scaphoid bone. The injury knocked him out until June 10, but Doumit couldn’t quite keep up with his past production (.250/.299/.414 line with 10 homeruns, 38 RBI, and 31 runs in 304 plate appearances). In 2010, the Pirates acquired former Diamondbacks catcher Chris Snyder, and started using Doumit at first base and outfield in addition to catcher. His .251/.331/.406 line with 13 homeruns, 45 RBI, and 42 runs in 456 plate appearances was an improvement from the season before, but his glamorous 2008 season appeared to be a one-hit wonder.
Going into 2011, Ryan Doumit did not have a starting gig for the first time since 2007. Snyder was given the full-time catching nod, and Lyle Overbay and Garrett Jones the first base and right field jobs, respectively. But Snyder got injured in early June (which killed his season), and thus handed the catching duties back over to Doumit. In 236 plate appearances, the 30 year-old Doumit posted a fab .303/.353/.477 line with 8 homeruns, 30 RBI, and 17 runs. Despite the elevated .331 BABIP (career .304 BABIP), Doumit’s .174 ISO was within the top 15 in the Majors and his highest mark since 2008 (.183 ISO), and he also posted career bests in Contact% (82%) and wiff rate (7.4%). In addition, Doumit threw runners out at a 24.07% clip, which rivaled the likes of Victor Martinez, Brian McCann, Carlos Ruiz, and Carlos Santana.
It’s pretty obvious Ryan Doumit doesn’t have the necessary stamina to be a starting catcher anymore, but the former Pirates-standout could make a very dangerous backup option. A healthy Doumit could provide a valuable asset for the Mets, who might look to upgrade their second fiddle to Josh Thole. If they decide Ronny Paulino doesn’t cut it, and aren’t sold on Kelly Shoppach (here’s my case), Ryan Doumit might very well be a potential off-season target for the New York Mets.