• Twins Sign Catcher Kurt Suzuki

    The Twins have filled their backup catcher vacancy. According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, they have reached agreement on a one-year deal with veteran catcher Kurt Suzuki. The signing addresses the last obvious need on the roster, although Terry Ryan will likely continue to monitor potential upgrades over the coming weeks.

    Terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed, but Suzuki is not expected to earn a large salary. He has struggled at the plate over the past four seasons, hitting just .237/.294/.357 while spending time with the Athletics and Nationals.
    Suzuki might have a chance to compete for a starting job in spring training, but given his lack of offensive production in recent years, the Twins are probably hoping that Josmil Pinto will be able to establish himself, allowing the new acquisition to serve in a part-time role.

    Although he is generally considered a strong defender, Suzuki really struggled to control the run game this past season, catching just eight base-stealers on 65 attempts (12 percent) in 93 games. That's a concern, since defensive aptitude will be the most important thing for him to bring to the table.

    Suzuki, 30, is a Hawaii native who played college ball at Cal State Fullerton. He was a second-round draft choice of the A's in 2004. Expect more analysis of the signing here at Twins Daily over the weekend.
    Comments 94 Comments
    1. spycake's Avatar
      spycake -
      MLBTR reports the Twins have signed Kurt Suzuki, for 1 year at $2.75 million plus incentives:

      http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2013/1...rt-suzuki.html

      So that will mean another 40-man roster move....
    1. twinscowboysbulls's Avatar
      twinscowboysbulls -
      Good move by TR.
      I'd be content if we are done shopping, but hope for a trade for a SS or SP and sign a bat.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      You can view the page at http://www.twinsdaily.com/content.ph...er-Kurt-Suzuki
    1. IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
      IdahoPilgrim -
      Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
      MLBTR reports the Twins have signed Kurt Suzuki, for 1 year at $2.75 million plus incentives:

      http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2013/1...rt-suzuki.html

      So that will mean another 40-man roster move....
      Being reported by www.1500espn.com also

      http://www.1500espn.com/sportswire/R...ear_deal122013
    1. NoCryingInBaseball's Avatar
      NoCryingInBaseball -
      Been going back and reading many of this site's comments about Suzuki and I give Ryan "thatta boy" for the acquisition.
    1. ppearson50's Avatar
      ppearson50 -
      Quote Originally Posted by IdahoPilgrim View Post
      See you at Rochester Eric Fryer. I would assume he would be taken off the 40 man. Should clear. He hasn't hit for much in minors or his tiny bit oftime in the majors.
    1. raindog's Avatar
      raindog -
      I love the signing, with the assumption that Pinto is the starter. Fryer should now be a couple injuries away from making the 25 man. Thank goodness.

      Suzuki is a fine backup catcher.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Quote Originally Posted by raindog View Post
      I love the signing, with the assumption that Pinto is the starter. Fryer should now be a couple injuries away from making the 25 man. Thank goodness.

      Suzuki is a fine backup catcher.
      A Veteran Backstop who will be able to help with the game planning. His Value will go beyond his batting stats and caught stealing%. The Catcher plays a major role in weather a pitcher is successful or not.

      After Doumit was traded... I was pretty sure this was going to happen.

      I think it's a bit much to just hand the job over to Pinto without a little insurance. We did that with Hicks in 2013. In hindsight... Insurance would have helped in the case of Hicks.

      Also... In consideration of what Parmelee did a couple of Septembers ago and what he has done since that impressive September. Simply saying Pinto "here you go" after an impressive September is a little risky.

      I have a feeling that Suzuki will start as the primary catcher come April.
    1. ericchri's Avatar
      ericchri -
      I like it, it feels like a better match for Pinto in that I'm hopeful Pinto turns into an above-average catcher long-term. Some of the bigger name available catchers were going to take away some of the playing time I wanted Pinto to get. Suzuki should slot in nicely as a backup who can take over and start adequately if Pinto should face-plant or get injured for some reason, but not take away his playing time otherwise. Curious what happens with Herrmann, now. Still seems like a possible bench bat due to his versatility, but AAA may be more likely.
    1. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      " The signing addresses the last obvious need on the roster,...."

      So we lose Morneau and Doumit (I nearly forgot Clete), sign Kubel and Suzuki to fill that void.

      Do these moves really do much to improve our bad offense from last year?
    1. orangevening's Avatar
      orangevening -
      Better fit than Buck
    1. Monkeypaws's Avatar
      Monkeypaws -
      I like this signing because a better guy like AJ would likely push Pinto to the bench more often than not. Now it's up to Josmil to grab that starter's job and leave Suzuki the backup role.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
      " The signing addresses the last obvious need on the roster,...."

      So we lose Morneau and Doumit (I nearly forgot Clete), sign Kubel and Suzuki to fill that void.

      Do these moves really do much to improve our bad offense from last year?
      I would have been upset if the team didn't get upgrades for the pitching staff in free agency, but I'm OK if the plan for offensive upgrades is simply expecting improvement/bouncebacks/arrivals from guys like Arcia, Hicks, Willingham, Plouffe and Sano. Surely all won't shine but if a couple produce better than they did last year the offense will be improved.
    1. spycake's Avatar
      spycake -
      The last two years, Suzuki has been basically the equivalent of Jose Molina with the bat. (With his modest ability to take a walk, Fryer might be in that range too.) Molina signed for 2 years at a lower AAV (2/4.5). Will be interesting to see how their defense/framing compares.
    1. tjsyam921's Avatar
      tjsyam921 -
      I dont see how he can really bring much more to the table than what Herrmann or Fryer would bring. Seems the money couldve been spent elsewhere. Now who gets removed from 40 man to make room for someone who doesnt bring much more than what we have?
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      It's not as simple as that. To me, Kubel is an upgrade over Doumit. Mauer is a big upgrade over Morneau. A Pinto/Suzuki platoon is a downgrade compared to Mauer. At that point, you're about even. But, Arcia is a big upgrade over Parmelee, so a couple of extra months of him should help. Also, we won't have to suffer through two months of Hicks leading off. That experiment killed our offense in 2013.

      Overall, a slight upgrade, I think. I expect Ryan to upgrade the shortstop offense in January (or before) with Stephen Drew. That might be all we can reasonably expect, beyond the natural regression to the mean of several of the guys who underperformed expectations last year.

      The biggest part of the regression is health. Willingham spent about a month on the DL and played hurt a lot. Mauer missed the last six weeks of the season and, when he was playing, he had the typical catching dings that affect hitting. Plouffe played through a lot of things. Arcia missed some time. If those guys are more healthy in 2014, they should produce more than they did in 2013.

      It certainly is not a line-up to inspire fear in the likes of Justin Verlander. But it should be a little better. In 2015, it will get a lot better when you add Buxton and Rosario to the top of the order and Sano to the middle.
    1. whatever54's Avatar
      whatever54 -
      We'll see how it works out, but what I'd like to see happen is Pinto and Suzuki split catching starts something close to 50-50. Catcher is a tough position and a bit less wear and tear may help keep them healthy. I'm especially concerned about Suzuki wearing down with too many starts, if he can stay healthy, he could really contribute.
    1. ScrapTheNickname's Avatar
      ScrapTheNickname -
      I believe about 2/3 of all starting pitchers right handed. Suzuki is a right handed batter, as is Pinto. In 2013 Pinto hit great against righties in a small sample, but Suzuki over the last three years has been horrible against righties, hitting just .233/.287.
    1. Chance's Avatar
      Chance -
      Love it.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Bonus in signing Suzuki: He has proven to be very tradable over the last two years. Not that the Twins should do so, but it's nice to have that option.
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