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Article: Twins Chasing Top Catcher Jarrod Saltalmacchia?

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#61 Craig in MN

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 10:58 AM

Doumit is not an everyday catcher....he's a borderline back up one at this point


There is a sort of a spectrum of offensive catchers from Saltalamachia (below avg catcher, ok career hitter) to Pierzynski (poor catcher, better career hitter), to Doumit (bad catcher, even better career hitter). If a team is willing to sacrifice catcher defense for some offense, Doumit has the best offensive number and he could be in the discussion. I don't want Doumit to be a primary catcher for the Twins, but it's not outrageous to think a team would try to make it work, even as a platoon with a good glove guy.

The real point is that Salty doesn't make that much sense for a team that has Doumit, and that moving Doumit would make it make more sense.

#62 nicksaviking

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 11:06 AM

Salty's numbers haven't been sporadic at all the past 3 years, I am not to concerned at this point how he was hitting when he was 22, 23 and 24.

Assuming last year was an aberration, you can still expect him to put up a .740 OPS which I am pretty sure is well within the top 10 of catchers year in and year out.

The Twins can spend $10 mil on a catcher and still have plenty of money to sign pitchers in 2014 and 2015. Frankly, the Twins aren't going to go sign 3-4 legit starting pitchers this off season and it isn't feasible. At some point they have to count on a couple guys like Meyer and Gibson moving forward.


I'm not totally against signing him, but he just isn't consistant. While his OPS is around .740, last year was the first time he ever had a full season OBP over .300. It was .288 the previous two seasons. It seems that traditionally, guys who have very low OBP are the ones who are inconsistant throughout the season. Guys who struggle to get on base tend to be the ones who go on extended cold streaks.

I like the power, but as discussed, it likely won't play as well at TF. I'm not saying he shouldn't be signed, I'm just saying that his disaster percentage is likely pretty high.

#63 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 11:10 AM

Except that of the players left, the safest and best from an impact perspective are OFers....and with this staff, they need defense and offense. Sign a legit OF, move Willingham to DH, and you've fixed two problems. but, I know most don't agree. If there was a SS that was good to great out there, that's where I'd spend the money....but there isn't.


Your solution if I am correct is to sign Ellsbury? Who suddenly loses a ton of value when you move him from CF (which you would do the second Buxton was called up) not to mention he is much more sporadic of a hitter than Salty and would cost over twice as much.

The one OF I wouldn't mind taking a run at would be Cruz, I would offer him 2/30 or 1/16 to rebuild his value. (Though he would prob just go back to Texas at those rates) Not sure I would go three years due to defense and HGH regression question, but it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world I suppose.

Edited by SpiritofVodkaDave, 25 November 2013 - 11:33 AM.


#64 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 11:15 AM

There is a sort of a spectrum of offensive catchers from Saltalamachia (below avg catcher, ok career hitter) to Pierzynski (poor catcher, better career hitter), to Doumit (bad catcher, even better career hitter). If a team is willing to sacrifice catcher defense for some offense, Doumit has the best offensive number and he could be in the discussion. I don't want Doumit to be a primary catcher for the Twins, but it's not outrageous to think a team would try to make it work, even as a platoon with a good glove guy.

The real point is that Salty doesn't make that much sense for a team that has Doumit, and that moving Doumit would make it make more sense.


Saying that Doumit would be an option at Catcher for this team moving forward doesn't make it so. Doumit simply put is a very poor catcher defensively in every ascertainable stat/eye test. He put up a 0.1 WAR last season overall and is projected to be a 0.0 WAR player this year, putting a replacement level catcher in over a guy like Salty (3.0 WAR) makes zero sense.

#65 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 11:20 AM

Past 3 years:

Saltalamacchia: .235/.288/.450 95 OPS+ (2011), .222/.288/.454 97 OPS+ (2012), .273/.338/.466 118 OPS+ (2013); 3 seasons average: .244/.306/.457 104 OPS+

Player X: .238/.305/.392 91 OPS+ (2011), .235/.301/.455 106 OPS+ (2012), .254/.309/.392, 94 OPS+ (2013); 3 seasons average: .243/.305/.414 98 OPS+

Player X is a year younger than Saltalamacchia. Saltalamacchia does have better SLG (and pretty much identical BA and OBP), but his SLG is park-factor based as seen by the OPS+. Saltalamacchia is slightly better than player X who is one year younger.

If Saltalamacchia is worth a 3/30M contract, how much should one sign player X for? 3/24M fair just based on the (unbiased) numbers? I think so if Saltalamacchia goes for that much.

Figure out who player X is and then based on the numbers and your personal bias against that player, figure out whether Saltalamacchia is worth that much. Hint: Player X is a Twins' player.


I'm sorry, what does Trevor Plouffe have to do with any of this? If Plouffe was a good defensive catcher then I suppose the comparison would make sense.

Heck if Plouffe was even good defensively I suppose that comparison would at least be a tiny bit relevant, however, Plouffe has been poor defensively at third base and has only put up a combined 0.1 WAR in the last 3 years. Additionally, the average third baseman hits quite a bit better than the average catcher.

It's comparing apples and oranges at this point.

#66 Craig in MN

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 11:37 AM

Saying that Doumit would be an option at Catcher for this team moving forward doesn't make it so. Doumit simply put is a very poor catcher defensively in every ascertainable stat/eye test. He put up a 0.1 WAR last season overall and is projected to be a 0.0 WAR player this year, putting a replacement level catcher in over a guy like Salty (3.0 WAR) makes zero sense.


I'm not talking about Doumit playing catcher for this team. I am talking about there being a team that might settle for Doumit and the Twins trading him to them. And if anyone expects Salty to be a 3 WAR player, they are fooling themselves....I'd bet it will be less than 2. He has had exactly one 2+ WAR year in his career, and that was last year and fueled by an extreme BABIP. For their careers, both Doumit and Salty average about 1 WAR per year.

Salty is more at his peak, and Doumit more on the downside, and Salty is obviously an overall better player for next year. But Salty is trying to sign for 3+ years for a ton of money. In three years, I bet he's a worse player than Doumit is now, and even less deserving of playing time. I don't want to sign up for that.

#67 bphat1

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 11:40 AM

I don't think any 3 year deal is a mistake. It's the 5,6,7 year deals that kill teams. The Twins generally don't do that unless it's for an MVP. I'm in the "Salty makes us better so sign him" camp. I also don't think he keeps us from grabbing two pitchers who can make us better.

#68 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 11:41 AM

I'm not talking about Doumit playing catcher for this team. I am talking about there being a team that might settle for Doumit and the Twins trading him to them. And if anyone expects Salty to be a 3 WAR player, they are fooling themselves....I'd bet it will be less than 2. He has had exactly one 2+ WAR year in his career, and that was last year and fueled by an extreme BABIP. For their careers, both Doumit and Salty average about 1 WAR per year.

Salty is more at his peak, and Doumit more on the downside, and Salty is obviously an overall better player for next year. But Salty is trying to sign for 3+ years for a ton of money. In three years, I bet he's a worse player than Doumit is now, and even less deserving of playing time. I don't want to sign up for that.


If Doumit isn't good enough to play catcher for one of the worst teams in baseball (twins) then what makes you think some other team would settle for him and play him at catcher?

In re: Salty: Apparently Steamer's projections are foolish since they have him as a 2.9 WAR player next year.

I'd glady take a wager on Salty's 2016 year vs Doumits 2014 year.

#69 jay

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 12:12 PM

I'm sorry, what does Trevor Plouffe have to do with any of this? If Plouffe was a good defensive catcher then I suppose the comparison would make sense.

Heck if Plouffe was even good defensively I suppose that comparison would at least be a tiny bit relevant, however, Plouffe has been poor defensively at third base and has only put up a combined 0.1 WAR in the last 3 years. Additionally, the average third baseman hits quite a bit better than the average catcher.

It's comparing apples and oranges at this point.


Right on. The defensive and positional differences don't give much credence to high-level offense comparisons. Salty is like 70 points above the OPS average for catchers while Plouffe is like 15 points below the average 3B. That's significant.

#70 Craig in MN

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 12:22 PM

If Doumit isn't good enough to play catcher for one of the worst teams in baseball (twins) then what makes you think some other team would settle for him and play him at catcher?

In re: Salty: Apparently Steamer's projections are foolish since they have him as a 2.9 WAR player next year.

I'd glady take a wager on Salty's 2016 year vs Doumits 2014 year.


I didn't say that Doumit isn't good enough to play catcher for the Twins. I just think he's a better fit at DH, where they also have an opening. He might fit differently on a different team.

I do think that Steamer projection is foolish.

#71 Steve Penz

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 01:05 PM

I don't have the attention span to read 4 pages of comments so please forgive if this is a repeat. The length of the contract is what concerns me. This seems like a guy that (if he played well) would be catching a lot of games. I get that they might want to ease in Pinto because he does have a lot to prove but what if he plays well? In 2015 you have two catchers who would want to catch 100+ games. I think a player with a shorter contract is better. Ideal situation would be for Pinto to work out and to catch 100+ games in 2015 while another guy fills in the rest. Is Saltalmacchia that guy? I don't think so.

#72 LimestoneBaggy

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 01:13 PM

If I was a GM, and I wanted AJ on a one-year deal, I certainly would be publicly kicking the tires on "Salty". Not that I believe that's what's happening here, but I would be doing it.

#73 mike wants wins

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 01:26 PM

Not sure how a guy with his offenisve and baserunning and defensive skills loses "a ton" of value from the switch to LF.....sure, LF generally contribute less defensively than CF, but even if you took off a half a win from his WAR for the shift, he'd still have the 7th highest WAR in the game. I'm baffled that people think moving to a large LF in Target field, and catching a lot of flyballs from this staff has such little value.

Yup, it would be a ton of money, but it's hard to find a safter player to sign right now. He helps the offense, he helps the defense.

But, I understand, people don't agree, and would rather watch Pressley or Hicks "hit and field" and use teh money on pitchers that are not likely to be as valuable.

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :)


#74 johnnydakota

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 01:34 PM

I didn't say that Doumit isn't good enough to play catcher for the Twins. I just think he's a better fit at DH, where they also have an opening. He might fit differently on a different team.

I do think that Steamer projection is foolish.


Ok let me say it ... Doumit is at best a backup and even that is barely an option with his latest concussion, as for him playing the outfield ...it should never ever happen again....find a taker for him and upgrade with Jones as a rightfielder/1b/DH

#75 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 01:49 PM

Not sure how a guy with his offenisve and baserunning and defensive skills loses "a ton" of value from the switch to LF.....sure, LF generally contribute less defensively than CF, but even if you took off a half a win from his WAR for the shift, he'd still have the 7th highest WAR in the game. I'm baffled that people think moving to a large LF in Target field, and catching a lot of flyballs from this staff has such little value.

Yup, it would be a ton of money, but it's hard to find a safter player to sign right now. He helps the offense, he helps the defense.

But, I understand, people don't agree, and would rather watch Pressley or Hicks "hit and field" and use teh money on pitchers that are not likely to be as valuable.


The problem isn't Ellsbury, its the fact you would have to give him at least 6 years (7 most likely), where he is most certainly going to lose value on the base paths and defensively during that time. Additionally there are injury questions with him as well, which alone doesn't make him a safer "player"

If you could get him for 3-4 years, then by all means grab him, but Ellsbury isn't the type of guy the Twins need to be handing out $153+ million to, especially when you have Buxton waiting in the wings.

And yes, moving Ellsbury to LF takes away a lot of his value as CF is the 2nd or 3rd hardest position (behind C, SS) and LF is the easiest or 2nd easiest (1B and RF are the same more or less)

#76 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 01:51 PM

I didn't say that Doumit isn't good enough to play catcher for the Twins. I just think he's a better fit at DH, where they also have an opening. He might fit differently on a different team.

I do think that Steamer projection is foolish.


Got it, so all the experts who say that Salty is a good catcher, all the stats that back it up and the projections which year in and year out are very accurate are all foolish.

Meanwhile a guy that hit .710 and has no baserunning or defensive value anywhere is going to be a legit option for teams as a DH?

Don't get me wrong, I like Doumit and I think he can rebound a bit, however at this stage he is nothing more than a backup/nice bench bat and/or possibly a one year stop gap at DH/1B for a team, however you aren't going to get anything of value for that. You'd be much better off just taking a flyer on Corey Hart.

#77 Rosterman

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 02:10 PM

At some of the prices mentioned, he is a viable alternative. A.J. would be a one-year deal. But if Pinto isn't ready or the real deal after that, the Twins are looking for two catchers come 2015.

If they sign a front line catcher for multiple years, they have Doumit as backup and Pinto/Herrmann in reserve for this season. Pinto can catch prospects at AAA. When you come to 2015, you have Salt and can work in Pinto, or even let Pinto work more if his 2014 AAA season isn't stellar. If it is, you have tradebait at a reasonable price in Salt.

It's called strengthening a weak position with someone that will make up for some of the so-called first base hitting weaknesses Mauer will bring to that position by giving us more power behind-the-plate.

The age factor is surreal. Only 28. Sign him for three and he is still 31. And he'll produce, because his next contract would be really big!

#78 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 02:16 PM

Or if Pinto somehow proves to be an everyday catcher/stud. You can always trade Salty away sometime in 2015/2016. Or you could trade Pinto away for premium player(s)

This would be a GREAT problem to have.

#79 Hartzy34

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 02:40 PM

I'm a big believer that a guy is at his athletic peak between the ages of 28 - 32. Let's get him on-board for 3, 4 years until Pinto hits that period. Sounds like a perfect signing to me. Of course #1 & #2 on my list of signings are pitchers. This would be #3 for me.

Edited by Hartzy34, 25 November 2013 - 02:42 PM.


#80 Craig in MN

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 03:14 PM

Got it, so all the experts who say that Salty is a good catcher, all the stats that back it up and the projections which year in and year out are very accurate are all foolish.

Meanwhile a guy that hit .710 and has no baserunning or defensive value anywhere is going to be a legit option for teams as a DH?

Don't get me wrong, I like Doumit and I think he can rebound a bit, however at this stage he is nothing more than a backup/nice bench bat and/or possibly a one year stop gap at DH/1B for a team, however you aren't going to get anything of value for that. You'd be much better off just taking a flyer on Corey Hart.




Mostly I think that Steamer has no idea how to value catcher defense, but I also question experts who think that Salty is a better than average defensive catcher.

If you look into the catcher defensive stats on Steamer, you get things all over the map. Look at the "DEF" column on Fangraphs and you see that steamer projects Salty to provide more defensive value than he ever has. It projects a LOT of catchers of having extreme increases in DEF next year for no apparent reason. Either they are projecting them to catch a ton or play somewhere other than catcher or something, but it's not clear to me and it doesn't makes sense. It looks to me about 1/2 of the catcher projections make sense and the other 1/2 are way high, including Salty, McCann, AJ, and a ton of other old catchers who just aren't getting more adept defensively. I just don't recommend signing a catcher based on Steamer projections. I think they are nuts.

I expect players to play more in lines with their career averages and their averages over the past few years. I think Doumit will hit more like .760 OPS, which is perfectly fine for a DH, probably above average.

A lot of teams would be wise to take a flyer on Corey Hart. But only one team can, and none of them can play him at catcher, even occasionally, so the rest of the teams have to look for some offense where they can get it.

#81 twinsfan34

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 04:36 PM

This is probably effort on the part of the Agent to get some more $$ for his client (Salty).

He's a horrible catcher. Only one catcher in MLB had a worse Caught Stealing % than Salty. 79% of baserunners stole at will. Imagine what our low velocity pitching staff could do to that number.

A 36 year old catcher with a .237 career average (.188 in the series) caught 4 of the 6 games in the World Series while Mr. Possible 3 years $30M rode the pine.

If this is real, I feel like it's the spawn of nightmare and ground hog's day all over again.

#82 Trevor0333

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 04:39 PM

Salty for 3/30 isn't terrible, he is one of the top 3rd catchers in the league. He's ok defensively and has some power. It would be nice to let Pinto start in AAA & come up in June. The pair would make a real nice platoon with Pinto giving him rest vs lefties. Gardy doesn't typically do platoons but C is a bit different with the needed off days. That said...

This team & especially rotation are 2 years away from being contenders. That puts them in the optimal position to let Pinto work & grow with this pitching staff. If they bring in both Garza & Nolasco I can understand this a little more as they will have a pretty decent rotation giving them a chance to compete for the division.

There has to be more to this interest. Such as Salty being a guy they believe will help transform the clubhouse they are finally realizing is just a little too soft.

#83 DJL44

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 05:15 PM

An average defensive catcher is needed because Doumit and Pinto are both below average. Good catchers make pitchers better so you can think of some of the $$ as going to upgrade the pitching staff.

#84 oldguy10

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 05:26 PM

A. J. not mentioned in this thread - wouldn't he be a better and more logical choice? I sure think so, I wonder what the veteran pitchers would say if it came down to a choice between the two.

#85 twinsfan34

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 05:28 PM

Salty is a career .246 hitter.

That's .246/.310/.428. His BB% rate is 8.1%, his SO% rate is 28.4%

For his career, he's allowed 77% of baserunners to steal. In 2011 he led MLB in passed balls with 26.

He's horrible by offensive standards, he's worse by defensive standards.

And someone would considering paying him actual money?

Ryan Doumit's career offensive line: .268/.329/.438. Doumit is better across the board.

Defensively you ask?

They're comparable, 76% of baserunners are successful against Doumit (still better than Salty, albeit, barely).

Doumit's career high in passed balls is 9*. Salty topps that every year.

*only considers seasons above 100g caught.

Doumit is better in every sense of catching and hitting.


http://www.baseball-...doumiry01.shtml

http://www.baseball-...saltaja01.shtml

Pinto will be better defensively and offensively than Salty.

He might not outhit Doumit. Doumit is a career .268 with 2 .300+ seasons. He could hit that again.

Josmil has been a better hitter and catcher at every level that Salty has played on.

http://www.baseball-...id=pinto-001jos

I see no reason why we'd pay $10M annually for one of the games worst defensive catchers (he's worse than Doumit, Doumit is not top third of catchers) who has a career average under .250.

Edited by twinsfan34, 25 November 2013 - 05:32 PM.


#86 twinsfan34

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 05:34 PM

According to the stats....Salty is worse catcher or comparable to Doumit and Pinto. At every level.

Is there some other metric we're looking at here to say he's even good defensively?

Maybe passed balls? Caught stealing%? Fielding %?

All horrible.

#87 twinsfan34

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 05:37 PM

AJ would be about equal in terms of defense...He doesn't allow quite as many PB, his fielding % is near tops in the league annually at .995, and he throws out baserunners just a bit better than Doumit and Salty at 75% success rate against him.

He's a better hitter, doesn't strike out. In fact he's a pretty tough out. Ever seen that guy foul over 10+ balls in an at bat before?

Plus he's a Jack-a$$ to the other team.

And cheaper.

And he might actually want to sign with us.

He's older is the only downfall.

http://www.baseball-...pierza.01.shtml

#88 twinsfan34

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 05:38 PM

Salty is a strikeout machine...

Put him on the mound. He's good for 15K/9.

#89 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 05:38 PM

According to the stats....Salty is worse catcher or comparable to Doumit and Pinto. At every level.

Is there some other metric we're looking at here to say he's even good defensively?

Maybe passed balls? Caught stealing%? Fielding %?

All horrible.


The advanced stats per fangraphs has salty ahead by a huge margin.

#90 jorgenswest

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 05:40 PM

The most important aspect of catching receiving the ball and calling the game are not measured by WAR.

All attempts to measure this skill ranks Ryan Doumit at the very bottom. Not just overall but every season for the last 6. Very few teams would put him behind the plate.