Sound Off: Three Catchers, or Not Three Catchers
by, 02-23-2012 at 10:11 PM (1259 Views)
Originally posted at kbro's baseball blog
I read LaVelle's piece about whether the Twins should carry three catchers on the roster. It's a good question -- should they keep three just so they have adequate fill ins in case one of them gets hurt, or should they free up that roster spot for, say, another utility guy or pitcher (how many pitchers they should have on the roster is another rant entirely)?
So here's the design the Twins will use if they go with three: the regular catcher will be Joe Mauer, the DH who can also catch will be Ryan Doumit, and Drew Butera will be bench catcher.
Joe Mauer should be fine in 2012 and will catch the lion's share of the innings. When he needs a "semi-day off," he can either DH, in which case Doumit can catch, or he can play first base, in which case Morneau can DH and Doumit can catch, thereby keeping all those bats in the lineup.
If they choose to go with only two, it'll probably be Mauer and Doumit. The risk with having only two catchers, of course, is that if whoever's catching gets hurt during the course of a game, the Twins lose the DH and the pitcher has to hit for the rest of the game. Besides, Carl Pavano really likes to have Butera as his personal catcher.
In a perfect world ... you know, when Joe Mauer is healthy and hitting and, well, being Joe Mauer, and Justin Morneau is healthy and hitting and being Justin Morneau, and Josh Willingham is healthy and hitting and being Michael Cuddyer -- wait -- well, you get the idea ... I don't mind having Butera in there once every five days or so. Yes, he's a sub- .200 hitter, but the other guys in the lineup hitting well make up for it. In a perfect world.
But it's not a perfect world. I'm not completely confident that everyone will be hitting like they're supposed to. Or even if they're hitting like they're supposed to, that it'll be enough. There may be plenty of holes in the lineup without Butera, there's no reason to intentionally make one with him.
Apparently, having to pull the DH so he can catch and make pitchers hit is a big fear of Gardy's. LaVelle's article pointed out exactly how many times that has happened, and it doesn't seem like it happens enough to worry about. Of course, there's always a chance that a pitcher can hurt himself while running the basepaths, but I'm not terribly concerned about that. These guys have played baseball for a long time; they know what to do out there. There's no more risk to a pitcher hitting than there is to a pitcher fielding a bunt.
Final conclusion: leave Drew at AAA.