By John Perrotto
The Pirates have decided that Ryan Doumit will no longer be the everyday catcher when he returns from the disabled list, according to a baseball source familiar with the club’s thinking.
The Pirates are pursuing Arizona catcher Chris Snyder in a trade with the deadline for dealing players without securing waivers on them looming at 4 p.m. Saturday.
If the Pirates are able to land Snyder, he is expected to become their primary catcher and start four or five times a week. Doumit would get the rest of the starts at catcher once he recovers from a concussion but would also see playing time at first base and possibly right field.
Doumit has always been considered a below-average defensive catcher and the Pirates believe his work behind the plate has declined this season. They are also concerned about his propensity for being injured, including a growing concussion history.
Even if they are unable to acquire Snyder, the Pirates are said to be planning to have Doumit split time behind the plate for the remainder of the season with Erik Kratz, a 30-year-old rookie who made his major-league debut two weeks ago. Doumit is eligible to come off the DL on Aug. 6.
Snyder, 29, is hitting .231 with 10 home runs and 32 RBIs in 65 games with the Diamondbacks this season. He has spent his entire seven-year career with Arizona, batting .233 with 62 homers in 556 games.
Snyder has thrown out 30 percent of runners who have attempted to steal during his career, though that figure is down to 20 percent this year as he has nailed 12 of 59.
He is the all-time leader in fielding percentage among major-league catchers with a .998 mark, having committed just six errors in 3,844 chances.
Snyder is signed through next season with a club option for 2012. He is making $5.25 million this season and will have a $5.75 million salary next season while the option worth $6.75 million and can be bought out for $750,000.
The Diamondbacks are looking primarily for salary relief. They are said to be willing to pay part of the approximately $8.25 million left on Snyder’s contract while receiving just second-line prospects in a trade.
—John Perrotto is editor-in-chief of BaseballProspectus.com
and baseball columnist for the Beaver County Times—