June 30, 2012
Orioles Get America's Favorite DH
The Orioles have been using Chris Davis as their designated hitter since placing Nick Johnson on the disabled list Thursday. To compensate, Buck Showalter has penciled in either Mark Reynolds or Wilson Betemit at first base, and Robert Andino at third base. Not content with the configuration, Dan Duquette went out and got himself the best designated hitter in the National League.
This is the third time in four years that Thome has been traded in-season. Thome enters the Orioles phase of his season with just 71 plate appearances on the season, though he did hit .242/.338/.516 in that time. Thome has hit .267/.382/.548 since 2010, but because he is 41 years old, it’s tough to project him to hit like that heading forward. —R.J. Anderson
Re-signed C/DH-S Ryan Doumit to a two-year extension worth $7 million. [6/29]
When Doumit signed a one-year deal with the Twins during the offseason, his intentions seemed clear. Go to an American League team, spend half the year as a designated hitter, stay healthy, and then hit the free-agent market again and grab a multi-year deal. Indeed, Doumit has spent about half of the year as the Twins DH, and he has stayed healthy. But Doumit didn’t wait until the offseason to get his multi-year deal; rather, he grabbed it by July.
Doumit hits well enough to start, but fields too poorly to have a true position. Factor in Doumit’s shaky injury history, and you have the reasons why he was willing to take a one-year deal in the first place. Doumit signing an extension with a last-place team is where things get weird. How often are last-place teams re-signing non-elite 31-year-olds to multi-year deals in late-June? If anything, teams shop Doumit’s type on the trade market around this time of the year.
Terry Ryan values Doumit, but you wonder what the intended endgame is. It could be that Ryan wants compensation for when Doumit departs Minnesota. Under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, there is no chance that a player like Doumit will bring back a draft pick. The alternative then could be to sign these players to short and reasonable extensions. From there, the team can market the player as more than a half-year rental.
Admittedly, that could be overcomplicating things. Perhaps the Twins just value Doumit and want him around. But that we’ve resorted to throwing darts in the dark shows how peculiar this deal is. —R.J. Anderson
Acquired Kyle Simon and C-R Gabriel Lino from the Orioles for DH-L Jim Thome [6/30]
Obviously, the Phillies were not expected to get much in return, but it was somewhat of a surprise to see a return of two fringy players as opposed to just one. That said, both are players who have seen their stock decline recently.
A fourth-round pick last June, Simon has proven to be quite hittable in his full-season debut at High-A Frederick, allowing 86 hits over 72 2/3 innings while striking out just 49. His best pitch is an upper-80s sinker that has helped him generate a groundball rate of more than 2.5 to 1, but it's really his only skill, as he lacks a plus secondary pitch and just doesn't miss enough bats.
Lino ranked No. 15 on my Orioles prospect list entering the year, but the 19-year-old Venezuelan has made no progress at Low-A Delmarva, batting just .218/.282/.340 in 56 games. He's an athletic catcher with good size, and shows some solid raw power at times. But his pure hitting ability is in question, as he rarely squares up balls when facing live pitching. He's a plus defender with a very good arm who has at least some chance to get there as a backup. —Kevin Goldstein
R.J. Anderson is an author of Baseball Prospectus. Follow @r_j_anderson