Ryan Doumit’s injury can’t change things

I’ve got kind of a backlog of thoughts about the Ryan Doumit injury that I’ve been meaning to post since the news broke yesterday, so I’m going to get them all out there right now.

I have no idea what to make of Doumit’s injury history. None of his injuries are related. He’s torn his hamstring, broken his thumb, and hurt both of his wrists on separate occasions. His injuries don’t happen in a logical progression; they just keep happening. This means that either Doumit is the unluckiest baseball player in history, or he’s genetically inclined to injury. Honestly, I really think it might be the second one.

Whatever the case, it’s clear that the Pirates can’t bulid around Doumit. Maybe that sounds harsh, but a player that can’t be counted on for more than 110 games isn’t a cornerstone. He’s a nice enough hitter when he’s healthy, but that’s all he is. It’s a hard truth to face, but I just can’t see any other conclusion to come to right now.

So what do the Pirates do about the catcher position? That question popped up all over the place after Doumit’s injury and and it hasn’t gone away. The answer right now, as hard as it is, is that the Pirates shouldn’t do anything in the immediate future to fill the gap left by Doumit. Remember 1999? Cam Bonifay decided to carve up his lineup in the wake of Jason Kendall’s gruesome ankle injury because he thought that his over-achieving team had a shot at .500 that year. The Pirates won 79 games, but gave up Jose Guillen for Humberto Cota and Joe Oliver in the process. It’s hard to accept with the team playing well early in the season, but this is far from a finished product. Unless we’re going out and trying to pry Max Ramirez or Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Taylor Teagarden from Texas (which isn’t a bad idea, though we don’t match up well with them for a trade right now, I don’t think), there’s just no move to make that’s particularly

The other thing that’s come up a lot in the past two days (even in some searches that have brought people to WHYGAVS) is the idea of moving Neil Walker back to catcher. This is a bad idea. When Walker was drafted, there was immediate speculation that he’d have to move out from behind the plate. He was never particularly strong as a backstop in the minors, and the switch was finally made. Now, by all reports, he’s excelling defensively at third base. I realize we have a glut of third basemen at the moment, but why would we want to move him from a position he is good at to one that we know he’s not good at? If we’re moving Walker around the diamond, I think we’re probably better served by moving him towards the middle infield.

So, yeah. Doumit’s injury sucks. There’s a very good chance that Jaramillo and Diaz are nothing but career backups. Maybe Doumit’s injury problems mean we refocus our shopping list at the trade deadline. Maybe it means we scout the draft a little differently. But for right now, there’s just nothing the Pirates can do that’s going to be worth it in the long run.

Pat Lackey

About Pat Lackey

In 2005, I started a WHYGAVS instead of working on organic chemistry homework. Many years later, I've written about baseball and the Pirates for a number of sites all across the internet, but WHYGAVS is still my home. I still haven't finished that O-Chem homework, though.

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