Ryan Doumit’s injury last weekend was all kinds of bad news for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Doumit’s been one of the Pirates’ better hitters in 2011, hitting .269/.333/.441 from the catcher position, forming a productive tandem with Chris Snyder behind the plate for the Bucs. That was good for the Pirates both because it’s good to have guys hitting the ball well and because the club has been looking to trade him since the 2010 season ended with catching prospect Tony Sanchez on the way and Doumit having two expensive options after the 2011 season. With teams like the San Francisco Giants in desperate need of a catcher, it looked like the Pirates were going to be able to swing a trade to send Doumit out of town.
Every day Doumit stayed on the Pirates roster, though, was a risk. After being placed on the disabled list on Monday with his broken ankle, Doumit has now been on the disabled list at least once in every single season since 2006. He’s never appeared in more than 124 games and he’s only topped 100 twice, in 2008 and 2010. He’s been the Pirates’ nominal starting catcher since midway through the 2007 season, but he’s only topped 300 plate appearances three times in his career. Under the jump I’ve got at least a partial list of his disabled list trips since 2006 (scraped together from TSN’s career history and his Baseball-Reference page):
- In 2006 he went on the DL twice with hamstring strains, once in April (19 games) and a longer stint from June until August (69 games).
- In 2007, he went on the disabled list in August with a wrist injury (26 games).
- He came back for one game in September of 2007, in which he broke his ankle and missed the remainder of the season (20 games).
- In 2008, he suffered a weird fracture to the tip of his thumb that put him on the DL for most of May and the early part of June (21 games).
- In 2009, he injured his wrist again and missed 73 games between the middle of April and July.
- In 2010, he spent 15 days on the disabled list in August for a concussion sustained after repeated getting hit in the facemaske by foul tips (15 days).
- In 2011, he’s out for “at least a month” with a fracture in the ankle that he injured over the weekend against the Cubs.
If we just count these DL trips and none of the games he missed for various hamstring tweaks and lesser head injuries (the man’s noggin is a magnet for foul tips and it seems like he takes ten of them in the head every year), that’s 243 games missed over five years, not counting this current injury.
The current injury may be the most costly one for the Pirates; if Doumit doesn’t come back until sometime in July, his trade value will be severely limited. If the Pirates can’t trade him, they could still reap some value if he hits the free agent market as MLB Trade Rumors projects him as a Type B free agent right now, which would earn the Pirates a sandwich pick. Of course, if he misses too much time he could drop in those rankings as well or he could end up accepting arbitration and staying with the Pirates anyway.
It’s really a shame; Doumit is a good hitter, very good for a catcher, when healthy and his career could be entirely different if not for his inability to stay off of the disabled list. At this point, though, the Pirates almost have to plan for him to miss a month or more of the season every season, because the guy just can’t stay healthy.