The Twins have traded a catcher to sign a catcher. Looking to bolster their pitching staff, the Twins traded utility man Ryan Doumit to Atlanta in exchange for pitcher Sean Gilmartin. Since Joe Mauer will move permanently to first base, that left rookie Josmil Pinto and Chris Herrmann as the only catchers on the major league team. To coincide with the trade, the Twins signed veteran catcher Kurt Suzuki on December 20.
After multiple failed attempts to sign a catcher, the Twins inked Suzuki to a one-year deal worth $2.75 million. Suzuki has played for two teams during six MLB seasons. Although Suzuki does not have great offensive numbers, he will be a good mentor to Pinto. For what it is worth, Suzuki has a .253 career batting average with 67 home runs (with 14 of those coming in 2011.) He also has 359 RBI for his career. As for his catching skills, Suzuki has thrown out 26% of base stealers in his career. Suzuki will presumably be the starting catcher, but Pinto will be given lots of opportunities in 2014.
Doumit will be missed as he was a solid batter in his two seasons with the Twins. The problem with Doumit was that he could not catch when the Twins needed him to and he had trouble hitting in the clutch. As for Gilmartin, he has never made it to the major league level. In his three years moving around the minor league system, Gilmartin had an ERA of 4.23 with 223 strikeouts. I believe Gilmartin will spend a little more time in the Twins farm system before he debuts in the majors.
The Twins have had a busy December trying to get out of their three-year drought. It will be interesting to see who makes the team in April. Hopefully these new additions will improve our beloved team next season. Also, hopefully outfielder Jason Kubel makes the team. Even after signing starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey to a two-year deal earlier this month, the Twins should still go after free agent pitchers Bronson Arroyo and Matt Garza. Lastly: Welcome to Minnesota, Kurt!
Written by: Michael L. Sack