With the A’s coming to town this weekend, we have to mention Kurt Suzuki. The A’s aren’t about to leave town without their starting catcher, but it’s definitely worth a mention. We talked in-depth about this back on New Year’s Day, but we have a better perspective now after seeing what the Rays’ catchers have done to begin the season and how Suzuki has played.
The league average catcher in baseball this year has posted a .249/.322/.402 line. The Rays rank 29th in baseball in terms of OPS from the catcher position with a .221/.280/.291 line. The Rays are getting some nice defense at catcher, but they would love to improve on the offensive side. One problem: Suzuki is on the A’s team that ranks 29th in OPS by catchers, coming in at .223/.260/.287. Suzuki himself is posting just a .233/.247/.302 line with 6 doubles and 8 RBI. Considering Suzuki isn’t a great defensive catcher, he better hit. He has walked just once, 1.1% of his plate appearances, dead last in baseball minimum 78 plate appearances. For his career, Suzuki has hit for the most part (and walked some), posting a .257/.315/.385 line, not great but certainly better than any catcher the Rays have who’s even remotely close to the big leagues. But even though he will likely rebound, his struggles thus far this season can’t be completely disregarded.
Maybe this is exactly the opportunity the Rays are looking for. Suzuki’s value is at an all-time low and the A’s would love to shed in 5 million dollar salary. But the A’s aren’t about to trade him for nothing. The Rays will have to give the A’s an offer they can’t refuse. How about this?
The A’s unload Suzuki on the Rays, although they do need to throw in some cash to make in happen, and in return they get a couple of high-risk, high-reward guys in lefty Enny Romero, who has struggled the past couple of years in the minors but still has tons of upside, and first baseman Jeff Malm for the first base position, where the A’s have no clear starter of the future.
I still don’t like the odds of the Rays trading for Suzuki. He’s not there type of player. He doesn’t walk very much and he doesn’t play great defense. But the Rays need a catcher and Suzuki does fit that bill.