I wasn't too terribly excited about the Jamey Carroll signing. Don't get me wrong - - he's an upgrade. But he's no all-star, and he is not a long-term solution to the Twins' chronic middle infield problem. The Twins overpaid a little for Carroll, and he is definitely not what I would call a "difference-maker." Still, though, he should be a stop-gap between what the Twins have going into 2012 and what they hope to have going into 2014 in terms of homegrown shortstop talent. At least they did something.
Word is breaking that the Twins signed catcher Ryan Doumit to a 1-year, $3 million deal, with the possibility of more money based on certain performance bonuses. This deal is smart and necessary. Doumit catches and can play first base, and apparently even the right field, which is convenient, because we have health issues at catcher and first base, and our right fielder may be departing for greener, more easterly pastures. So with one signing and one roster spot, all at a fairly low price, the Twins bought insurance on Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, and are getting the flexibility of being able to rest those players on a regular basis even if they are healthy. Further, this hopefully will give Chris Parmelee the ability to get a little more seasoning in the minors. Don't forget -- he was a AA call-up, and has never suited up for Rochester. I expect good things from Parmelee, but most would probably agree that at least a few months of AAA might be best for his development. Additionally, Doumit should lessen the need for Drew Butera. Sure, maybe he calls a good game, but he has no place on the roster of a team that should be competing for the playoffs. To be sure, Doumit's 2011 line of .303/.353/.477 looks pretty good right now.
Terry Ryan was smart to make this move. I would like to think that Bill Smith would have made the same move (in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if talks had initiated between the parties before Smith was fired). If the Twins can get another few smart signings like this, I think they can have a respectable 2012. Admittedly, I'm not all that excited by the Hot Stove season. I enjoy reading what others have written about, and suggested for, the Twins in 2012, but just haven't had the desire to make my own offseason "blueprint." That's probably why I haven't been writing more often lately. But when the organization does something to fill a glaring need, that must be acknowledged. Well done, front office.