• 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. ScrapTheNickname's Avatar
      ScrapTheNickname -
      Quote Originally Posted by OldManWinter View Post
      So doesn't Suzuki return us to the point we might as well have kept Butera?
      Excellent point.
    1. minn55441's Avatar
      minn55441 -
      It may be a situation where Suzuki will benefit from only playing on a limited basis. With a full season to heal up and then only take the beating of playing behind the plate a couple of times per week he may improve in both behind the plate and at the plate statistics. I too think we needed to give our pitching staff more than pinto and Herman/Fryer. A pitcher is only going to succeed with a good relationship with his catcher. I think this is often overlooked. I think a veteran presence was needed behind the plate. At under 3 million, we did alright with Suzuki. If he can improve by staying healthy, all the better.

      I still think we need another outfielder.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by OldManWinter View Post
      So doesn't Suzuki return us to the point we might as well have kept Butera?
      Methinks you need to take another look at Butera's stat line.

      http://www.baseball-reference.com/pl...uterdr01.shtml
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by OldManWinter View Post
      So doesn't Suzuki return us to the point we might as well have kept Butera?
      Between Butera+$$ and Suzuki+Sulbaran, I choose the latter.
    1. Heimer's Avatar
      Heimer -
      I still think we need another outfielder.[/QUOTE

      Why? Willihammer, hicks, parmelee, arcia, pressly, and most likely ploufe will be all given time in the field. I agree there not the greatest, But I think TR is content for the time being with some good prospects coming up in 2015.
    1. biggentleben's Avatar
      biggentleben -
      Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
      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.
      Framing doesn't like Suzuki, but I've certainly never seen anything in his games that suggests he's poor at it, but I also don't trust metrics on framing much at this time based on eye test vs. stats so far, similar to when zone rating and such first came out.

      Suzuki has been hurt the last few years, so I wouldn't equate his expected offense to the production he's put forth the last two seasons, but I also wouldn't expect .290/.340 from him either.
    1. Marta Shearing's Avatar
      Marta Shearing -
      They're just signing Suzuki to lure Tanaka!
    1. minn55441's Avatar
      minn55441 -
      Why? Willihammer, hicks, parmelee, arcia, pressly, and most likely ploufe will be all given time in the field. I agree there not the greatest, But I think TR is content for the time being with some good prospects coming up in 2015.
      I don't think we will see parmelee or Ploufe in the outfield in 2014. Parmelee is a fist baseman and he is now a backup to Joe and will probably start the year in Rochester. That leaves 4 question marks for the remaining 3 spots.

      Hicks--I like Hicks, I think he will show a lot of improvement over his rookie year. He will need to prove himself and is far from a sure thing.

      Arcia-- I like Arcia, I think he will show a lot of improvement over his rookie year. I think he will hit in the majors, but not sure he will establish himself as an everyday player this year.

      Presley is a fourth outfielder. A younger version of Repko. He is a good defensive replacement and spot starter, but we shouldn't put him out there for even 40 starts in 2014.

      Masty, I feel that same way about Darin Mastroianni. A good 4th outfielder, but he is getting older and we can't carry both hiim and Presley on the roster.

      Willingham-- I hope he will return to his 2012 form but I'm not counting on it. It really seemed like that was his career year. Even with that fantastic year at the plate, he was a defensive liability. He should get about half his starts as a DH and the other half as a left fielder.

      Kubel is also in the mix, but again he should rotate DH and outfield responsibilities.

      I guess the recap of my thoughts is that not all of these guys are going to make it. I think we are set in the infield, but we still have too many questions in the outfield. We need another good all around outfielder that can play center if Hicks and Presley don't blossom into an everyday player.
    1. daveha's Avatar
      daveha -
      Don't be concerned by how few base runners he threw out last year. I live in the DC Metropolitan area and saw a number of games, heard many more. Any fan or any announcer will tell you the Nats' pitchers were horrible at holding runners close to the bag.
    1. minn55441's Avatar
      minn55441 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Marta Shearing View Post
      They're just signing Suzuki to lure Tanaka!
      Ok, but Suzuki is from Hawaii. Not sure he will be much good at recruiting.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by biggentleben View Post
      Framing doesn't like Suzuki, but I've certainly never seen anything in his games that suggests he's poor at it, but I also don't trust metrics on framing much at this time based on eye test vs. stats so far, similar to when zone rating and such first came out.
      I don't like pitch framing stats either because it doesn't take into account the natural predjudices of umpires, and I don't mean that in a derogatory way. If umpires already have a preconcieved notion that a young/inexperienced/wild pitcher is going to be all over the place, I don't think pitch framing helps a whole lot as the umpire is already expecting pitches to be outside the zone.

      I honestly haven't thought much about Suzuki's defensive game, but considering the above theory, the A's have run out Bartolo Colon and a bunch of young pups the last two years. Youngsters don't generally get the benefit of the doubt from an umpire and I'm not sure pitch framing would have a huge effect in convincing an umpire otherwise.

      Greg Maddox got every borderline call but I think that had more to do with his reputation than it did his personal catcher du jour's framing skills.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
      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.
      Excellent Nick! That was exactly my first thought. Given Terry's excellent recent track record in moving catchers, once Pinto gets settled in in a few months, as we all anticipate, with the capable backup potential of Hermann, Suzuki could net either a major league ready type prospect (or if he calls the Dodgers, something low minors/high-ceiling type, ala Sulbaran).
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
      Not really. He was traded from OAK-WAS, then back from WAS-OAK. And those two teams have been trading with each other like gangbusters in recent years. They were also both August waiver trade salary dumps for what looks like minor league filler.
      I disagree with your conclusion. What with the catcher concusssion contagion in recent years, there's more than a fighting chance that a contender is going to pay up for reliable catching depth when one of their own goes down.
    1. Marta Shearing's Avatar
      Marta Shearing -
      Quote Originally Posted by minn55441 View Post
      Ok, but Suzuki is from Hawaii. Not sure he will be much good at recruiting.
      But he has a japanese name!
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by Heimer View Post
      "I still think we need another outfielder."

      Why? Willihammer, hicks, parmelee, arcia, pressly, and most likely ploufe will be all given time in the field. I agree there not the greatest, But I think TR is content for the time being with some good prospects coming up in 2015.
      That's one good OF (Hicks), 2 works in progress (Arcia, Plouffe), 2 DHs (Willingham, Parmelee) and a Pitcher (Pressly) you got listed up there... Presley is a bench OF not a starting guy
    1. DJL44's Avatar
      DJL44 -
      Wow. Terry Ryan's done with all of his shopping before Christmas and they're right around last year's budget. Usually he's waiting for the post-Christmas sales.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Quote Originally Posted by Heimer View Post
      I still think we need another outfielder.[/QUOTE

      Why? Willihammer, hicks, parmelee, arcia, pressly, and most likely ploufe will be all given time in the field. I agree there not the greatest, But I think TR is content for the time being with some good prospects coming up in 2015.
      When a poster says "...we need another OF." He means a good OF--not the warm bodies that the Twins have been running out there the past few years.

      Parmelee is an OF. He took training to become a 1B because of Morneau's concussion issue.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
      When a poster says "...we need another OF." He means a good OF--not the warm bodies that the Twins have been running out there the past few years.

      Parmelee is an OF. He took training to become a 1B because of Morneau's concussion issue.
      Chris Parmelee has spent his entire professional career splitting time between OF and 1B. Initially, he only played a few games at first but by 2008, he was splitting time almost evenly between RF/1B.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
      Parmelee is an OF. He took training to become a 1B because of Morneau's concussion issue.
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Chris Parmelee has spent his entire professional career splitting time between OF and 1B. Initially, he only played a few games at first but by 2008, he was splitting time almost evenly between RF/1B.
      Here is Parmelee's maxpreps page before he was drafted in HS. His High School positions are stated clearly (along with some really cool baby Parms pictures.) He was drafted as a first baseman (not as a LHP obviously) who got reps in the OF so he has versatility. The Twins thought of converting him to RF in his second season (in Beloit) because of his arm (he was a pitcher) and because of Morneau. However most of his pro career in the minors from 2008 on (ie. after that failed experiment in Beloit in 2007) has been at 1B (393 games at 1B vs 155 at OF, almost 3 to 1), because he was an awful OF early on.

      And the above is a fact

      Here is his senior season HS baseball roster that clearly indicates his positions as well...
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
      Here is Parmelee's maxpreps page before he was drafted in HS. His High School positions are stated clearly (along with some really cool baby Parms pictures.) He was drafted as a first baseman (not as a LHP obviously) who got reps in the OF so he has versatility. The Twins thought of converting him to RF in his second season (in Beloit) because of his arm (he was a pitcher) and because of Morneau. However most of his pro career in the minors from 2008 on (ie. after that failed experiment in Beloit in 2007) has been at 1B (393 games at 1B vs 155 at OF, almost 3 to 1), because he was an awful OF early on.

      And the above is a fact

      Here is his senior season HS baseball roster that clearly indicates his positions as well...
      Interesting. I always thought of Parmelee as a first baseman but never thought about what position his played in prep ball. All I know is that he played some RF early in his career and then split time.
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