Impact: Ryan Doumit to Sign With Twins

MLB Trade Rumors has reported that former Pirates catcher and outfielder, Ryan Doumit, is set to sign a one-year deal with the Twins. Doumit posted some good numbers in only 236 plate appearances last season (.303/.353/.477 with eight home runs), but has battled injuries on and off since his breakout year in 2008. If Doumit can stay healthy, he has the ability to put up solid late round numbers for a catcher. However, the real impact of this move is the affect it will have on a couple of Doumit’s new teammates.

Joe Mauer is one of the most frustrating players in fantasy baseball. We waited years for him to break out in the power department, he did, and then fell right back to his former self, hitting for AVG and OBP, but letting owners who expected him to put up first or second round numbers disappointed. Injuries have obviously played a huge role as well. Last season, Mauer was limited to 82 games and he ended with career lows in AVG/OBP/SLG. In an attempt to calm the injury bug, Twins management decided to give Mauer some time at first base and DH.

As a catcher last season, Mauer hit .239/.328/.324. As a first baseman and DH he hit .424/.433/.439 and .277/.404/.426 respectively. Now that the Twins have added Doumit to the mix, I suspect that we will see Mauer at first and DH much more often, whether he likes it or not.

Of course, there is still this Justin Morneau fella, who almost one the AL MVP award in 2008. His concussion symptoms have limited him to 150 games over the last two years and it is almost impossible to tell if they will recur or not in 2012. Mark’s player projection called for some good numbers (.275 AVG with 19 homers and 75 RBI), but he’ll need the playing time to get there. Fortunately, there is an open spot at DH in 2012 and Morneau could certainly see a lot of time there.

With Jason Kubel basically out of the picture and Michael Cuddyer’s free agent status leaving a hole in right field, there is plenty of room (as of now) to move the trio of Mauer, Morneau and Doumit around between catcher, first base, DH and right (Doumit being the only one going to right). The biggest impact will be for Mauer, who, hopefully, can keep his legs fresh and have a healthier season overall. Unfortunately, Target Field is not friendly for left-handed power, so I wouldn’t expect a big jump in power numbers for any of those three. I expect Mauer to get back to hitting well over .300 with an OBP around .400, so he could be a nice value if his draft stock takes a sizable hit due to his injury plagued 2011 season.