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Article: Twins Sign Catcher Kurt Suzuki

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#1 John Bonnes

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 09:33 PM

Per La Velle and the San Francisco Chronicle, the Twins are looking at catcher Kurt Suzuki.

About all I know about him is that he used to be a Mariner and that he's still young. Anyone want to do some quick research and throw it out here?

#2 Joe A. Preusser

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 09:48 PM

Didn't he play for Oakland?

#3 Riverbrian

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 09:53 PM

A's actually... I don't remember him with the Mariners.

There was a time when I was impressed. He had occasional pop with the bat and he was a real active catcher behind the plate... Athletically skilled... He made some amazing blocks of wild pitches.

Last year... I watched him catch a couple games and he didn't seem as active... He looked a little sedentary behind the dish and he looked a little lost at the plate.

He needs to find that energy again... If he does... He'll be a decent support player... He calls a decent game so that will be good for the pitching staff.

I remember watching this play below and thinking it was one of the finest defensive plays from catcher I'd ever seen.

http://wapc.mlb.com/...tent_id=7431547
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#4 biggentleben

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 09:55 PM

Per La Velle and the San Francisco Chronicle, the Twins are looking at catcher Kurt Suzuki.

About all I know about him is that he used to be a Mariner and that he's still young. Anyone want to do some quick research and throw it out here?


He's actually never been a Mariner (perhaps you're thinking of onetime Seattle closer Kaz Sasaki or a certain right fielder). He came up with the Athletics with a high reputation for handling a staff and holding runners close and surprised the A's with quality seasons at the plate. He's still young in catcher years, and while he won't ever hit .300, he can give you a solid contact guy that will give you .250 batting average with a .700ish OPS. Nothing spectacular, but not horrid for a catcher either. While injuries have taken away his elite defensive abilities, he's still highly touted for handling of pitchers.
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#5 biggentleben

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 09:58 PM

A's actually... I don't remember him with the Mariners.

There was a time when I was impressed. He had occasional pop with the bat and he was a real active catcher behind the plate... Athletically skilled... He made some amazing blocks of wild pitches.

Last year... I watched him catch a couple games and he didn't seem as active... He looked a little sedentary behind the dish and he looked a little lost at the plate.

He needs to find that energy again... If he does... He'll be a decent support player... He calls a decent game so that will be good for the pitching staff.

I remember watching this play below and thinking it was one of the finest defensive plays from catcher I'd ever seen.

http://wapc.mlb.com/...tent_id=7431547


If you saw him after his late-season trade back to Oakland, you saw some of that vigor again. Injuries have taken some of the raw athleticism away, but he was seemingly energized with the A's staff and his bat even came alive in a short stint with Oakland last season.

Great example of that - in his first few years as a catcher, he averaged 4+ runs prevented by blocking. He was then 0.xx for the last couple years before bouncing back to produce a 5+ run prevention number in 2013 combined between the A's and Nats, which was second only to Yadi Molina.

Edited by biggentleben, 13 December 2013 - 10:06 PM.

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#6 biggentleben

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 10:03 PM

One mark on him offensively - he puts the ball in play. He rarely walks, but he also rarely strikes out. Fangraphs has him for a career 6.4 BB%, but also only an 11.9 K%.
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#7 Riverbrian

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 10:06 PM

If you saw him after his late-season trade back to Oakland, you saw some of that vigor again. Injuries have taken some of the raw athleticism away, but he was seemingly energized with the A's staff and his bat even came alive in a short stint with Oakland last season.


I watched him with the Nats. I was disappointed but I wasn't aware of the injuries. Injury would explain it because he didn't look like the same guy.

If he has worked through the injury. This will be a good pickup for us. At least good for anyone that doesn't expect all players to OPS plus .900. Or be worthless. :D

I think he's tough and we need some tough. He could be a guy that doesn't look like he's helping but helps by improving others around him.

I hope we get him. Roll them dice!
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#8 Trevor0333

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 10:10 PM

I like him a lot better than Buck. He's ok with the bat & defensively for a C. Which isnt common for catchers, seems like they are usually more all defense or all offense.

Given Pinto latest shoulder woes, I do like having another option besides Fryer/Hermann. While they have said Doumit can catch. I expect that to be on an emergency injury basis only. I honestly dont think he will catch another game in his career.

Bartlett, Kubel, Suzuki... These are all quality end of the bench take a chance on possibly getting good reward type players.

Edited by Trevor0333, 13 December 2013 - 10:12 PM.


#9 biggentleben

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 10:12 PM

I watched him with the Nats. I was disappointed but I wasn't aware of the injuries. Injury would explain it because he didn't look like the same guy.

If he has worked through the injury. This will be a good pickup for us. At least good for anyone that doesn't expect all players to OPS plus .900. Or be worthless. :D

I think he's tough and we need some tough. He could be a guy that doesn't look like he's helping but helps by improving others around him.

I hope we get him. Roll them dice!


A lot of it was due to overuse. He caught just under 300 games in 2008-2009 and another 270 in 2010-2011. That's simply a ton of games behind the plate for any catcher.
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#10 Riverbrian

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 10:26 PM

A lot of it was due to overuse. He caught just under 300 games in 2008-2009 and another 270 in 2010-2011. That's simply a ton of games behind the plate for any catcher.


Yeah... No doubt... And it would lead to a little complacency from the routine-ness of it all.

Good stuff Ben... You are filling in some gaps with stuff that add's up... I've seen two Suzuki's... One good... One So-So... Hopefully... A little dose of "I want to stay in the majors" will bring that good one back.

Let's look at the tape again: http://wapc.mlb.com/...tent_id=7431547
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#11 biggentleben

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 10:43 PM

Yeah... No doubt... And it would lead to a little complacency from the routine-ness of it all.

Good stuff Ben... You are filling in some gaps with stuff that add's up... I've seen two Suzuki's... One good... One So-So... Hopefully... A little dose of "I want to stay in the majors" will bring that good one back.

Let's look at the tape again: http://wapc.mlb.com/...tent_id=7431547


He's been a personal favorite since he came up, so I watched his career closely. I see him akin to a Russell Martin lite. Martin was also abused terribly in the Dodgers days (448 games in 3 seasons along with 1838 plate appearances), and his production at the plate and behind it tailed off. He recovered in his Yankee days, barely cracking 475 PA in each season in New York. Last year in Pittsburgh, he turned in his best defensive season of his career by metrics and his best fWAR since his 2008 season when he was being overused in spite of batting a meddling line of .226/.327/.377 in 2013 at the plate.
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#12 Tibs

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 11:29 PM

He's actually never been a Mariner (perhaps you're thinking of onetime Seattle closer Kaz Sasaki or a certain right fielder). He came up with the Athletics with a high reputation for handling a staff and holding runners close and surprised the A's with quality seasons at the plate. He's still young in catcher years, and while he won't ever hit .300, he can give you a solid contact guy that will give you .250 batting average with a .700ish OPS. Nothing spectacular, but not horrid for a catcher either. While injuries have taken away his elite defensive abilities, he's still highly touted for handling of pitchers.


The handling of pitchers sounds like something the Twins need.

#13 Hawkeye12

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 11:40 PM

If Pinto is going to be the starter, I prefer Suzuki over Buck. If Pinto is going to be in AAA to start the year, I'd rather have Buck paired with Fryer. Plus I think Suzuki will be slightly cheaper, but I haven't seen any dollar figures tossed around.

#14 John Bonnes

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 01:12 AM

He's actually never been a Mariner (perhaps you're thinking of onetime Seattle closer Kaz Sasaki or a certain right fielder). He came up with the Athletics with a high reputation for handling a staff and holding runners close and surprised the A's with quality seasons at the plate. He's still young in catcher years, and while he won't ever hit .300, he can give you a solid contact guy that will give you .250 batting average with a .700ish OPS. Nothing spectacular, but not horrid for a catcher either. While injuries have taken away his elite defensive abilities, he's still highly touted for handling of pitchers.


Nah, i typed the wrong team - thinking Oak and typed Sea. He was an A forever.

#15 kab21

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 07:08 AM

I don't care who at this point but they need to bring in a veteran that can catch 60-100 games regardless of Pinto's possible injury. Suzuki and Buck are at the top of my list so hopefully one of them ends up here.

#16 cmathewson

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 08:27 AM

I like him about as well as AJ if he can get healthy. He should be a bargain. We might be able to get him on a minor league deal.
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#17 jorgenswest

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 09:02 AM

He does poorly in the pitch receiving metrics. That probably doesn't matter to the Twins.

Must matter to some teams. Any catcher slightly below average to very good in this metric were signed quickly or moved in the trade market. The guys perennially below average like Buck and Suzuki remain.

It is unfair to put Suzuki with Buck though. While Suzuki is below average, Buck is in Doumit range.

The Twins missed on the catcher market this year. They can't go back. Suzuki is probably the best of what is left.

Edited by jorgenswest, 14 December 2013 - 09:07 AM.


#18 whatever54

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 10:03 AM

I don't care who at this point but they need to bring in a veteran that can catch 60-100 games regardless of Pinto's possible injury. Suzuki and Buck are at the top of my list so hopefully one of them ends up here.

This I agree with. Pair a solid vet catcher with Pinto, Suzuki is probably the best remaining, especially if he can get over the injury issue and get back to some semblance of his former self.

#19 ScottyB

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 02:37 PM

I like him about as well as AJ if he can get healthy. He should be a bargain. We might be able to get him on a minor league deal.


The way catchers have been flying off the board, no way Suzuki is a minor league deal. If we could get him under $5M, I'd grab him. In fact I'd give him a 2-year deal.

#20 iastfan112

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 04:44 PM

Per La Velle and the San Francisco Chronicle, the Twins are looking at catcher Kurt Suzuki.

About all I know about him is that he used to be a Mariner and that he's still young. Anyone want to do some quick research and throw it out here?


Or you could've been thinking of http://www.baseball-...johjike01.shtml

#21 YourHouseIsMyHouse

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 05:46 PM

I would be like to sign him. Much, much better than going for Buck, Pierzynski, or Salty.

#22 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 05:55 PM

He does poorly in the pitch receiving metrics. That probably doesn't matter to the Twins.

Must matter to some teams. Any catcher slightly below average to very good in this metric were signed quickly or moved in the trade market. The guys perennially below average like Buck and Suzuki remain.

It is unfair to put Suzuki with Buck though. While Suzuki is below average, Buck is in Doumit range.

The Twins missed on the catcher market this year. They can't go back. Suzuki is probably the best of what is left.


Fair enough but I don't fault the Twins for missing on this catching market. The only guy who interested me in the slightest is Saltalamacchia and I don't like him in TF and I don't like him coming off a .370+ BABIP season.

And he signed with his hometown team for a pretty good deal. Given the money it probably would have required to pry him away from the Marlins, no thanks.

Suzuki is an acceptable one-year stopgap. Reevaluate the position next offseason.

#23 edavis0308

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 06:05 PM

Per La Velle and the San Francisco Chronicle, the Twins are looking at catcher Kurt Suzuki.

About all I know about him is that he used to be a Mariner and that he's still young. Anyone want to do some quick research and throw it out here?



As far as former Mariners go, I believe you were thinking of Johjima.

#24 howeda7

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 12:40 AM

Suzuki is OK. But are folks just writing off Doumit catching? I'd much rather let him platoon with Pinto and go find a RH bat to platoon with Kubel at DH.

#25 stringer bell

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 06:59 AM

Suzuki is OK. But are folks just writing off Doumit catching? I'd much rather let him platoon with Pinto and go find a RH bat to platoon with Kubel at DH.

IMHO, this is an acceptable stopgap scenario for 2014: Pinto starts every game vs. LH at catcher, Kubel starts every game at DH vs. RH pitching. Doumit catches about half the time vs. RH pitching and DHs most of the time vs. LH pitching. It would figure then that Doumit, Kubel, and Pinto would each start more than 100 games. That said, if the Twins can acquire a veteran catcher who is OK offensively and average defensively, go for it. I would put both Suzuki and Lobaton in that category.

Edited by stringer bell, 17 December 2013 - 09:32 AM.


#26 cmathewson

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 07:27 AM

I've always liked how he handles pitchers. And you can't argue with the results in Oakland, with so many young guys cycling through all the time. He'd make a good complement to Pinto in an unconventional platoon. And he could help Pinto with the parts of his game where he tends to struggle, especially running the scouting meetings, calling the game, mound visits, etc.
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#27 twinscowboysbulls

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 07:55 AM

If Twins sign Suzuki, would you guys be upset if we just cut Doumit and kept Fryer on 40-man? Even though I think he is terrible, the Twins apparently do not. Knowing that, doesn't Fryer actually have more value on the 40-man roster? (controllable, cheap, younger, better defensively)

I guess I am just really at the point if we can't throw Doumit in a trade to give him away, I'd rather us just eat that money and give the at-bats to someone else, since this is a year it will be acceptable to see what we have in some guys. Agreed?

#28 twinscowboysbulls

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 07:56 AM

Suzuki is OK. But are folks just writing off Doumit catching? I'd much rather let him platoon with Pinto and go find a RH bat to platoon with Kubel at DH.


As I just said, I'm okay with writing off Doumit period. He is not a part of this teams future after 2014. If he hits the crap out of the ball, he still won't be back, IMO.

#29 BigTrane

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 08:18 AM

I'd been looking into him and mentioned him yesterday on the 'Who gets DFA'd' thread as my solution to the whole Freyer/Donut issue. He's got a good rep for D (Johnny Bench award winner in '04) and showed a pretty decent bat in his 1st year with the A's (led the team in RBIs, I believe). CS% in the low 30s. Don't know about his injury history, but he's only 30, so that's a plus. My sense is he'd be willing to platoon with Pinto (much more than an AJ or Salty, anyway) and if he's good with a pitching staff, so much the better. If we were offering 2 years to AJ, then (in this market) what are we waiting for? Offer him 2 and get him now before other teams catch the scent. This is a tight market.

Edited by BigTrane, 17 December 2013 - 08:31 AM.

Feel free to pile on about Suzuki.

#30 twinscowboysbulls

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 08:37 AM

I'd been looking into him and mentioned him yesterday on the 'Who gets DFA'd' thread as my solution to the whole Freyer/Donut issue. He's got a good rep for D (Johnny Bench award winner in '04) and showed a pretty decent bat in his 1st year with the A's (led the team in RBIs, I believe). CS% in the low 30s. Don't know about his injury history, but he's only 30, so that's a plus. My sense is he'd be willing to platoon with Pinto (much more than an AJ or Salty, anyway) and if he's good with a pitching staff, so much the better. If we were offering 2 years to AJ, then (in this market) what are we waiting for? Offer him 2 and get him now before other teams catch the scent. This is a tight market.


If we sign Suzuki and intend on platooning him with Pinto, it makes even more sense to cut Doumit. Potentially we are looking at a roster of Doumit/Pinto/Suzuki/Kubel/Willingham/Parmelee for DH at-bats. It'd be wise to eliminate one of those options. Pinto needs to play more than the 80 games he will catch if we are planning on signing Suzuki and splitting their time behind the dish.

Yeah it stinks to waste 3 million dollars, but we have done it before. I just can't see how carrying 3 catchers would be a good option considering one of them would be Doumit. I'd rather see Parmelee/Kubel/Pinto getting his DH at-bats with Herrmann as the 3rd catcher(if they need one).