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Any takers for Kurt Suzuki?

Jun 21, 2012, 4:31 PM EDT

Kurt Suzuki Getty Images

A’s catcher Kurt Suzuki was a hot property two years ago. Young, productive and able to withstand an exceptionally heavy workload behind the plate, his name came up in plenty of rumors, even though there was nothing to suggest the A’s wanted to deal him.

And they didn’t, a fact they now surely regret. On Thursday, they called up youngster Derek Norris to split time with their struggling veteran.

Suzuki went from knocking in 88 runs in 2009 to 71 in 2010 and 44 last year. He still posted a solid enough .686 OPS last season, but this year, he’s all of the way down to .524. He’s hitting .215 with no homers and 16 RBI in 209 at-bats.

Maybe that’s an aberration, but it’s clear now that Suzuki, even though he’s still just 28, is no longer a building block for the A’s. Instead, he’s likely going on the trading block.

Finding a taker could be difficult. Suzuki is making $5 million this year and $6.45 million in 2014. Worse, he has an option for 2014 that vests at $9.25 million as long as he makes 113 starts.

Also, and this is unusual, there aren’t really any contenders looking for catching at the moment. The Nationals could use a stopgap to help out with Wilson Ramos out for the season, but they’re not going to take on Suzuki’s 2013 salary. The Pirates are searching for offense, but Suzuki probably isn’t enough of an upgrade over Rod Barajas to make his salary palatable.

So, the A’s are probably stuck with Suzuki for now, at least unless some more starting catchers get hurt.

  1. natstowngreg - Jun 21, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    Given how much of a beating Jesus Flores has taken as a starter, the Nats could use a veteran catcher. Suzuki would fit the bill but, as you note, the price is too steep for a stopgap. Flores will be fine as Ramos’ backup once the latter returns.

  2. eastcoastcynic - Jun 21, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    I guess Suzuki’s decline is due to that “exceptionally heavy workload”.

  3. potatoesogrady - Jun 21, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    He’d be a clear improvement over Nickeas on a platoon with Thole, but I don’t envision the Mets taking on that kind of salary for a part-time catcher.

  4. deathmonkey41 - Jun 21, 2012 at 8:04 PM

    I always thought he came over from Japan, but then one day I heard him getting interviewed and he was speaking California Surfer dude.

    • jwbiii - Jun 21, 2012 at 9:02 PM

      He’s from Maui and went to CS Fullerton, so there’s a good chance that he is a surfer dude.

  5. scatterbrian - Jun 21, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    You’re basing production on RBIs, huh?

    • kkolchak - Jun 22, 2012 at 7:47 AM

      RBIs may not be a perfect measure of production, but dropping from 88 to being on pace for less than 40 is huge no matter how you look at it.

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