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Thursday, August 24, 2006

PIT Post-Gazette: Doumit faces challenge to reclaim job

On Ryan Doumit’s return:

For now, Doumit’s role likely will be sporadic, manager Jim Tracy indicated. He said Paulino will continue to dominate the catching and that Humberto Cota will remain in the mix. Doumit could play some first base… but Xavier Nady will see most of the time there.

“We’ll look to involve Ryan when we can,” Tracy said. “He is a legitimate offensive player, as well as a switch-hitter, and that affords us the opportunity to get him out there at one of two positions or pinch-hit.”

Doumit’s preference is to catch, as he reiterated yesterday.

And first base? “That’s up to them,” he said.

Hamstring injuries can linger, and Doumit acknowledged his will require regular maintenance. “I’m going to have to be conscious of it for the rest of my career as far as stretching and strengthening.”

NTNgod Posted: August 24, 2006 at 05:20 AM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: pirates

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   1. Hurdle's Heroes (SuperBaes) Posted: August 24, 2006 at 05:41 AM (#2154929)
Did anyone not see a year ago that the Pirates would take a promising offensive catcher and put him at another position? Jason Kendall to left field, then the A's; Craig Wilson to first base/right field, then the Yankees; Ryan Doumit to first base, then to the Rangers?
   2. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: August 24, 2006 at 11:48 AM (#2154981)
Every day, I think I've reached the maximum threshold of my hate for management, and every day, they surprise me.

Paulino's a nice guy and a hard worker, and he'll never be more than average at the position. Average-at-best isn't going to get this team anywhere worth going.
   3. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: August 24, 2006 at 11:54 AM (#2154985)
Any Mets fans know anything about this Juan Perez character?
   4. Russ Posted: August 24, 2006 at 11:55 AM (#2154986)
Sporadic playing time with lots of position switching as player development, sheer genius. I don't know why you're so upset about this Vlad, since the Pirates have had so much success with this strategy in the past (Hermansen, Davis, Craig Wilson, Duffy, McLouth). I can't wait till they bring McCutcheon up to sit on the bench... I'm quite sure I'll walk into a local deli and stick my hand right into the meat slicer.
   5. Russ Posted: August 24, 2006 at 11:56 AM (#2154987)
Whoops... forgot about Aramis Ramirez as well.
   6. Greg Schuler Posted: August 24, 2006 at 12:16 PM (#2154997)
Paulino has 11 errors and 9 passed balls in his debut, yet he is reagrded as the better defensive player. And while hesupposedly calmed the young pitching staff after his recall, it seems thatthey pitched poorly after he calmed them down. It's all in Jim Tracy's head, I think - and I like Paulino.

Oh - Ryan Doumit better learn to like Pepsi.
   7. Greg Schuler Posted: August 24, 2006 at 12:19 PM (#2155000)
Sporadic playing time with lots of position switching as player development, sheer genius. I don't know why you're so upset about this Vlad, since the Pirates have had so much success with this strategy in the past (Hermansen, Davis, Craig Wilson, Duffy, McLouth). I can't wait till they bring McCutcheon up to sit on the bench... I'm quite sure I'll walk into a local deli and stick my hand right into the meat slicer.


The difference is, I believe, that the current regime actually signed McCutchen. The other players mentioned were all from different eras. I doubt they mess with McCutchen. I know the coaching staff and front office were very impressed by McCutchen in spring training and sometimes that carries as much weight as anything. In fact, given his recent spurt in AA, he may start the season in AA and proceed to AAA in 2007.
   8. WTM Posted: August 24, 2006 at 01:13 PM (#2155037)
The difference is that McCutchen is speedy and toolsy, and fits the template for a specific position found in Chapter 2 of General Managing for Dummies. Walker's the guy who'll have trouble, because they'll mistake inexperience for poor defense and vacilate about where he'll play, and end up deciding he "doesn't have a position."
   9. Gainsay Posted: August 24, 2006 at 02:02 PM (#2155086)
I think you guys are being too tough on Paulino. Admittedly he's come pretty much out of nowhere, but he's close to being a league average catcher right now as a 25 year old rookie. If he adds a little more power or improves his defense any, both of which are plausible, he's a good player to have around. I think he's a guy that it's worth giving at least 1 more year to.

My real problem with this is they need to either let Doumit start over Nady at 1B or tell Doumit to go start at catcher in AAA so they can trade him in the off-season to another club. My preference would be to have him start over Nady, because I think Nady is a pointless player for the Pirates to have. He's well suited to be a role player on a contender, but isn't good enough to be more than a stopgap on a rebuilding team.
   10. s.zielinski Posted: August 24, 2006 at 02:20 PM (#2155117)
Close followers of the team — all five of us — knew Doumit was in trouble when Jim "Super Genius" Tracy chose Cota instead of him. Paulino will become the next Jack Wilson — good, but not good enough.
   11. Gainsay Posted: August 24, 2006 at 02:58 PM (#2155162)
I don't think it makes all that much sense to be beating up on Paulino when the Pirates have huge holes in CF, RF, and 1B. That's been the same for most of Wilson's career. It doesn't make sense to me to expect people at defensive positions to be offensive juggernaughts when you can't even fill the traditional offensive positions with competent players.

I'd rather have Doumit, Paulino, and Nady on the field at this point than Doumit, Nady, and Burnitz. If you want to put McLouth into the picture, it should be Doumit, Paulino, and McLouth.
   12. Greg Schuler Posted: August 24, 2006 at 03:01 PM (#2155169)
Gainsay:

Xavier Nady is a major league ballplayer with more than one season of numbers on the back of his baseball card. He will play until his injuries or ennui force him to the sidelines. You need proven MLB players to win. It would never enter Jim Tracy's or Dave Littlefield's mind to sit a recently acquired big leaguer to find out if one of their prospects could be a better player. It's not going to happen now or ever.

As for Paulino - he can improve, but the adulation his play generated from the team personnel and then the media overlooked his mistakes and errors. Paulino can be an average MLB catcher - absolutely. And I don't think he came out of nowhere - I have been following him since I saw him in the CL several seasons ago. And he was selected by the Royals in the Rule 5 a few years back (but didn't stick for whatever reason). A catching tandem of Doumit-Paulino is a good basis for the Pirates.
   13. Gainsay Posted: August 24, 2006 at 06:45 PM (#2155431)
Greg,

I'm not sure if you're serious when you say "You need proven MLB players to win." or you are just putting forth the rhetoric you expect out of the Pirates front office. I was describing what I think the Pirates should do, not what I expect them to. If I was the GM, I would not have traded for Nady. If they made me GM tomorrow, I would not have Nady figuring very highly in my future plans.

Also, I think it's understating what Paulino has done this year to say he can be an average catcher. He's basically been an average starting catcher since getting the job full-time. Hardball Times has him at 18th in win shares amongst all catcher in the big leagues even though he has slightly less playing time because he didn't begin the year as a starter. I don't think it makes sense for either him or Doumit to be in a situation where they are trying to split time, at least not when the Pirates can easily plug Doumit in every day at first base (not that they actually will).
   14. Kyle S Posted: August 24, 2006 at 07:12 PM (#2155471)
i'm a huge mccutchen fan now - plus he's hitting .370 in AA at age 19 - not too shabby! here's hoping the pirates don't eff him up too bad.
   15. Russ Posted: August 24, 2006 at 07:27 PM (#2155490)
I'd rather have Doumit, Paulino, and Nady on the field at this point than Doumit, Nady, and Burnitz. If you want to put McLouth into the picture, it should be Doumit, Paulino, and McLouth.




Not surprisingly, the Pirates have basically (forget)ed up a perfectly obvious situation from the beginning of the year and continue to (forget) it up on a daily basis.

What the Pirates did do:

The Pirates could have done the following at the beginning of the season:

1. Not signed Turditz.
2. Not signed Randa.
3. Not traded for Casey.
4. Not signed Jose Hernandez.
5. Kept Doumit and Paulino to start the season.

Assume a crappy team like the Pirates averages 4 PA per position per game (forget the pitcher for now). That's 4*162 = 648 PA per position.

They could have gotten Jose Castillo, Nate McLouth, Chris Duffy, Freddy Sanchez, Jose Bautista, Craig Wilson, Ryan Doumit, and Ron Paulino 648*6/8 = 486 *regular* PA per person at 1b, 3b, CF, RF, 2b, and 3b (don't even get me started about Jack Wilson). That's 3/4 of a 162 game season, or about 120 games (and that's assuming that The Bad Wilson and Jason Bay get 162 games at the other two spots and not accounting for IL DH'ing). You spread out the days off regularly so guys don't get too tired or too rusty (the Jim Leyland Approach).

You keep Gookie Dawkins around in case you need a spare MI, Mike Edwards around if you need a spare corner IF, and Rich Thompson around if you need a PR/spare centerfielder (or Cota as an 2nd emergency catcher, if you don't want Wilson to catch on the days you burn both Paulino and Doumit). Everyone gets time and at the end of the year you have a very good idea of what your 8 players can do given regular PT.

What DID they do?


1. Obtained Burnitz, Casey, and Randa to block basically ALL of the players mentioned above, except for the catchers and Castillo. Hernandez soaks up valuable MI and 1b (!!) at bats during rest days for the first three + Wilson/Castillo.

2. Kept and used Cota to block Doumit.

3. Jerked Nate McLouth and Chris Duffy around to the point that McLouth sucked worse than he has at any level EVER and Duffy becomes a complete mental disaster. The only upside is that Bautista manages to walk and bash his way into a semi-regular spot in the lineup.

4. Randa gets hurt (thank God), Sanchez luckily catches fire and steals his job.

5. Trade Wilson AND Casey and replace them with a guy who is worse than both (which would normally not be possible, but this is David Littlefield).

6. Cota totally bites and Doumit gets hurt and the Pirates are forced to play Paulino because, God help us, we can't use Craig Wilson
at catcher.

So, basically, if we are not lucky enough to have Sanchez, Paulino, and Bautista basically luck into positions, then the Pirates spent something like $15-20 million to

A) Get worse than if they had gone with what they had
B) Get no knowledge about the abilities of their young players
C) Get their young players no realistically reasonable amoount of playing experience
D) Trade off the only reasonably expensive parts that were actually worth something.


Following this team is like a nightmare, only it lasts 15 (20? 25?) years and you never wake up. We're talking about 5 good years since 1980. That's (forget)ed up.
   16. Russ Posted: August 24, 2006 at 07:30 PM (#2155493)
whoops... wrote 3b twice instead of 3b and C. My bad.
   17. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 24, 2006 at 07:44 PM (#2155519)
The difference is, I believe, that the current regime actually signed McCutchen.


Exactly. Anyone signed under Littlefield/Creech/Graham will get fifteen gazillion chances before the Bucs give up; anyone left over from the Bonifay and/or Mickey White eras will be set up to fail.

Nady is Craig Wilson cheap(er); he'll be kept around until he becomes expensive, and then he'll be traded away for the next Wilson/Nady cheap(er).

-- MWE
   18. Greg Schuler Posted: August 24, 2006 at 08:42 PM (#2155562)
Gainsay:

I forgot those dang tags again, sorry about that - </sarcasm>.

That Littlefield acquired Nady doesn't surprise - afterall, he was the main target during the Brian Giles talks with SD. What role he fills on the Pirates other than being a MLB player beats me.

As for Paulino, again, I like the guy and hope he makes it, but I have little confidence yet that he can repeat his performance or improve.
   19. Greg Schuler Posted: August 24, 2006 at 08:43 PM (#2155566)
The Pirates could have done the following at the beginning of the season:

Didn't you forget

Hire Jim Tracy and his staff?
   20. Gainsay Posted: August 24, 2006 at 08:44 PM (#2155569)
I'm not really a fan of saying Nady is a cheaper version of Craig Wilson. This is Nady's 4th year of service time. Through 4 years of service time, Wilson had put up signficantly better offensive numbers.
   21. Russ Posted: August 24, 2006 at 09:28 PM (#2155611)
Nady is Craig Wilson cheap(er); he'll be kept around until he becomes expensive, and then he'll be traded away for the next Wilson/Nady cheap(er).


That's not totally accurate... Nady's best OPS+ in a close to full season is 106. Craig Wilson's WORST OPS+ in a full season is 104. Nady wishes he could hit as well as Craig Wilson.
   22. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: August 24, 2006 at 09:54 PM (#2155641)
"What role he fills on the Pirates other than being a MLB player beats me."

According to management, first-base defense is key for the young starters.

They soured on Casey not because he can't hit for power to save his life, or because he's always hurt, but because they expected him to be a better defender than he was.

How this fits with giving the position to Randall Simon two years ago, I can't really say.
   23. MM1f Posted: August 24, 2006 at 09:57 PM (#2155645)
I do agree with Tracy that you cant just flat bench a guy like Paulino whos young and has produced this year but to say that you cant displace Humberto Cota is retarded and a good manager would get Doumit enough ABs at C and 1b...maybe 1/4 of all starts at those 2 spots
   24. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: August 24, 2006 at 10:02 PM (#2155650)
And a cookie for Russ for #21. Nady is, at best, a poor man's Wilson.

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