After yesterday's trade of Cliff Lee to the Philadephia Philles, and the news that the Rays have bowed out of the Roy Halladay sweepstakes, the Tampa Bay rumor mill has taken a significant hit. Not that I thought the Rays would actually acquire one of the frontline starters, but it was fun to imagine. While it seems the Rays are out of the starting pitching arms race, the Victor Martinez rumors remain.
I heard on the radio yesterday that one exec said if the Indians move one of the two, they almost certainly will move the other. The Red Sox are believed to be the favorite for Martinez, but the Rays have been linked for a few weeks as well. Acquiring a catcher with Martinez's offensive skills would provide quite the upgrade to the Rays especially with the current back stops of Dioner Navarro and Michel Hernandez hitting .224/.252/.327 and .231/.271/.297 respectively. If the Red Sox do succeed in their efforts to land V-Mart, the Rays may not be shutout of an offensive upgrade at catcher.
Let me start this by saying I have heard no rumblings, grumblings, rumors or whispers of the sort, but am merely suggesting that Andrew Friedman give a call to Neal Huntington and acquire about the availability of catcher Ryan Doumit. Again, this is just me rosterbating while I still can before the deadline, and I'm not even sure the Pirates are actively trying to move Doumit, but given their recent moves, I think it's worth a phone call at least. I know the two have each others number (remember Jason Bay Is a Ray!).
The Pirates have been unloading their players even before the deadline was the hot topic of the league. They've already traded Nate McClouth, Adam LaRoche and yesterday moved Jack Wilson, Ian Snell and Freddy Sanchez. Doumit would be a logic choice as next on the chopping block.
The Pirates are also running out of room for first base/catcher types. They acquired Jeff Clement, who technically is still a catcher. They have Garrett Jones at first base with Steve Pearce roaming in the organization. Don't forget the Pirates also drafted a catcher, Tony Sanchez, with their top pick in the 2009 draft. That's a lot of players vying for playing time between two positions. With so many available options, and Doumit making the most money of the group, logic would say he could be had.
So how would Doumit benefit the Rays lineup? First off, he is not Victor Martinez. Martinez is a much better and more proven hitter, but he would also cost more in terms of a trade and contract. Second off, he is better than Dioner Navarro. Doumit hasn't looked great in his 27 games, but his career numbers are that of an above average hitting catcher .276/.335/.457, .340 wOBA. The one flaw that sticks out to me is his inability to walk, but we are comparing him to Dioner Navarro here so that doesn't really go against Doumit.
Doumit's contract is also pretty affordable especially compared to that of Martinez. He is making $2.05 million in 2009, so the Rays would owe him less than million dollars this year. After this year, he is guaranteed two more years at a total of $9.15 million dollars. He is due to make $3.1 million dollars in 2010 and $5.1 million in 2011. He also has two team options for 2012 and 2013 but at a combined $15.5 million those seem unlikely to be picked up given the fact that he will over the age of 30 when those options are up. If Martinez were to be traded, his 2010 option jumps to $7.5 million with another possible million dollars worth of incentives. The Rays could get two years of Doumit for a little more than the same price as one year of Martinez. Again, Martinez is the better player, but over the course 2007 and 2008, Doumit actually had a slightly higher WAR and is two years younger.
What does all this mean? Probably nothing unless Andrew Friedman, James Click or Dan Feinstein wake up this morning, read this and say "Hey, great idea." However, a move between the two teams makes sense to me, it's the trade deadline and a million scenarios are being thrown around and we are a blog, what good do we know anyway. What the Rays would give up in getting Doumit, I have no idea, but I'm sure Andrew and Neal could figure it out.