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Nationals acquire catcher Kurt Suzuki from A’s

Aug 3, 2012, 2:41 PM EDT

Kurt Suzuki AP

By acquiring George Kottaras from the Brewers last week the A’s signaled that Kurt Suzuki would lose playing time behind the plate, but today they took that several steps further by trading Suzuki to the Nationals.

In return the A’s receive Single-A catching prospect David Freitas, who was a 15th-round pick in 2010 and has shown very good on-base skills in the minors.

Suzuki has been the A’s starting catcher for five-and-a-half seasons, is still just 28 years old, and has a strong defensive reputation, but he’s collapsed offensively since a nice year at the plate in 2009. Since then he’s hit just .235 with a .647 OPS in 340 games, including .218 with a .536 OPS this season.

Washington has been in the market for catching help since losing Wilson Ramos to a knee injury that required two surgeries, but Ramos said just yesterday that he expects to be fully recovered in time for spring training and Suzuki is signed for next season at $6.45 million with an $8.5 million option or $650,000 buyout for 2014.

Suzuki will bump Jesus Flores from the starting job down the stretch, but it’ll be interesting to see how the Nationals deal with having Ramos, Suzuki, and Flores heading into 2013. Oakland has Kottaras and Derek Norris ready to take over for Suzuki and did well to get a decent catching prospect while unloading Suzuki’s contract.

  1. magnusmagnolius - Aug 3, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    Good. Flores is awful. Even Suzuki is an upgrade.

    • kinggw - Aug 3, 2012 at 3:57 PM

      I guess you havent seen Suzuki’s stat line.

  2. tcostant - Aug 3, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    Ironiclly Derek Norris came from the Nationals in the Gio deal, making Suzuki available.

    • recoveringcubsfan - Aug 4, 2012 at 11:13 AM

      When Ramos went down, I remember thinking “wow, who would have thought Derek Norris would be in demand in Washington?” and then immediately recalled that they traded him to Oakland.

  3. sharksman - Aug 3, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    so it will be kottaras and norris behind the plate. Im ok with that Suzuki just hasnt been consistent this year (not that Norris has) but hopefully kottaras will be a upgrade..

  4. gustavov8 - Aug 3, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    Just hoping that Norris can find his groove in the majors.

  5. butchhuskey - Aug 3, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    Suzuki has been absolutely terrible at the plate this year (even for a catcher), but at the very least he has good defensive skills. The move makes a lot of sense for Oakland because the organization seemed pretty frustrated with his inability to hit.

  6. APBA Guy - Aug 3, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    When an organization trades one of it’s homegrown veterans the first reaction from the fan base tends to the emotional. “Hey, I liked that guy. Who is we got for him. Who?”. And Kurt was certainly a likeable guy, especially from the remove of a fan. Plus, it was obvious that his pitchers, at least the generation of pitchers preceding the current A’s rookie crop, liked and respected him. Guys that are half gone now, like Gio and the White Rabbit.

    But the reality is, especially the reality under the Great and Powerful Beane, nobody is safe. And in Kurt’s case, his offense had regressed, and regressed substantially, each year since 2009, from .734 to .536 OPS this year. Defense has been roughly consistent over those 4 years (some metrics down, some up, most the same). And at the kind of money he makes, that’s a lot for a back-up, especially when the owners don’t concern themselves with fan feelings or loyalties, or even winning, really.

    Hopefully he’ll prosper in DC. He’s got a big swing and swings off-balance far too often, with no two-strike adjustment. His plate discipline has deteriorated causing him to swing out of control at pitches well outside the zone. As the results show, this is not a good combination. He’s going to have to rebuild his approach at the plate and shorten his swing to improve. Maybe the change of scene will help him do that.

    • gogigantos - Aug 4, 2012 at 9:26 AM

      This Giant fan,,
      This baseball fan was very fond of Suzuki. For a spell, he was my favorite AL catcher. He doesn’t much fit the East Bay anymore, kinda spendy. As a Nat, like him not so much. He will be missed and remembered fondly. These days of cheap easy A’s tickets will be missed too, one day, when the A’s rule the AL again as they are destined.
      Go A’s and
      Bay Area ball

  7. caliraiderz - Aug 3, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    Always liked Kurt he’s been great with all the young pitchers but was killing them at the plate this year , hopefully he turns it around with the change in scenery .

  8. wethog66 - Aug 4, 2012 at 3:09 AM

    Good move by the Nats. Besides the liability that is Morse in the outfield, catcher was another area of concern. Flores is what he is, a good backup. He needs help and the kids backing him up just aren’t ready yet. Hopefully Suzuki can stabilize that position defensively and a change of scenery can put a little pop in his bat.

    • recoveringcubsfan - Aug 4, 2012 at 11:15 AM

      Morse isn’t that bad in the OF and he can play both corners.

      If Suzuki can frame a pitch then he’ll be twice as beloved as Jesus Flores is. I swear, the Nats staff would have 100 more Ks combined if Flores, Leon, Solano, or Ramos knew how to frame a goddamn pitch on the black.

  9. wethog66 - Aug 4, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    Morse has no range in the outfield. A couple weeks ago he let two foul balls drop within the field of play in back to back games, and the oposing team got RBI’s soon after. Can’t have that. And considering he was a SS in the Mariners system his less than stellar play in the outfield is even more frustrating.

    I also realize he needs to be in the lineup, and with LaRoach at 1st, Morse needs to be in right. Just can’t wait for next year with Morse at 1st fulltime, so long as he gets an extension.

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