According to a report by Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle earlier today the Twins and catcher Kurt Suzuki have reached agreement on a one-year deal $2.75 million base salary that also includes some incentives just two days after sending catcher/outfielder Ryan Doumit to Atlanta.
The 30-year-old Hawaiian was the Oakland A’s second round pick in 2004 and made his big league debut on June 12, 2007 against the Houston Astros. Suzuki took over the starting catching role in 2008 and kept the job until the 2012 season when the A’s started to platoon him more and more. In August 2012 the A’s traded him to the Washington Nationals after their catcher Willie Ramos was injured and he stayed there for a year before the Nats traded him back to Oakland in August 2013.
According to the MLB Rumors site, “Suzuki has thrown out 26 percent of opposing base stealers throughout his career, though that number fell to only 12 percent in 2013. He was significantly better in 2012, when he picked off 30 percent of potential thieves. In 2013, he was above average in blocking pitches, per Fangraphs, and was average in terms of pitch-framing, per Matthew Carruth’s report at StatCorner.”
Suzuki’s best season may have been 2009 when he hit .274 with 15 home runs and 88 RBI. Since 2009 his average has fallen each season to .242 in 2010 then .237, then .235 and finally last season to .232. I have always liked Suzuki and I think he will be a very good fit in Minnesota as he backs up Josmil Pinto (assuming his shoulder woes get resolved) and teaches him what it takes to be a starting catcher in the big leagues. I remember a few years back when Suzuki was coming back off an injury and some baseball show was following his workout in a swimming pool. I was amazed when Suzuki was standing in the pool about waist deep and he jumped straight up and landed on his feet on the edge of the pool, that was pretty cool. I am looking forward to seeing Suzuki in a Twins uniform and I really think he will hit better than he has the last few years. I think the Twins made a very nice move here and the price was certainly right.