It's no secret at this point that the Minnesota Twins have an infatuation for pitchers with less-than-premium velocity. In keeping with that trend, the Twins made a trade on Wednesday, sending catcher-by-necessity only Ryan Doumit to the Atlanta Braves for left-hander Sean Gilmartin, reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Here's about all you need to know about Gilmartin:
Gilmartin knows what he's doing on the mound. Does many things well. Doesn't make up for fact he can't miss bats.— Al Skorupa (@alskor) December 19, 2013
That Gilmartin still falls under the "prospect" umbrella is a testament to his draft position. If he hadn't been a first-round pick (2011), he would go unnoticed in most publications.
It's not that Gilmartin isn't a good pitcher. As Skorupa noted, he has a plan and can do a lot of things. Throwing hard enough to miss bats just isn't one of them. That alone seems to make him a good fit for the Twins, but not something to get excited about and not a good enough prospect to contribute to the narrative of the "Twins continue to add pitching" (that's a link from the new president of the BBWAA, but that's a battle for a different time).
Gilmartin's fastball sits around 86-89 mph and he does not possess a plus breaking pitch of any kind, which dramatically limits his ceiling. He has an average change-up, which gives him a fighting chance, but it's not a swing-and-miss pitch. Gilmartin will get a chance to pitch in the majors because of his pedigree, but he's not going to be a part of the Twins future on the mound. Luckily, this move was more about shedding Doumit's salary than any return for the Twins.
For the Braves, the addition of Doumit is all about adding to their bench, a role in which the switch-hitter can be quite valuable. Contrary to popular belief, however...
...this is not about adding to catching depth.
If Doumit is behind the plate in Atlanta for any extended period of time, the Braves are in trouble. They are already planning on using a poor defensive catcher in Evan Gattis in a significant amount of their games, but luckily have set themselves up with a solid defensive backup in Gerald Laird. Doumit provides versatility with his ability to catch in a pinch, which, I guess, provides them with depth but the Braves plan will not be to have Doumit catch regularly. His ability to play the outfield, first base and catch will give manager Fredi Gonzalez flexibility in late inning switches, but Doumit can't do any of them well, so using for anything other than his bat would be a mistake. He'll get a few starts behind the plate, but they will be few and far between.
In the end, this is a payroll shed for the Twins and a bench move for the Braves and nothing more. Gilmartin will provide organizational depth for the Twins and his call-up will move the meter slightly when he is eventually called upon out of necessity this season, but Twins fans will soon realize that he fits in all to well with what they already have on the mound. Still, for the price of Doumit, a limited player whose salary they were looking to shed, at least it's something in return.