An active offseason for the Minnesota Twins has continued this week, with the trade of Ryan Doumit to the Atlanta Braves and Friday morning’s news they have agreed to terms on a contract with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki. Reports from Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports say it’s a one-year deal worth $2.75 million with more money possible via incentives. The deal will become official when Suzuki passes a physical, which presumably will happen later on Friday, and the Twins will have the veteran catcher they have been seeking with Joe Mauer moving to first base next season.
Suzuki spent the 2013 season with the Oakland Athletics and Washington Nationals, and he hit .232 with five home runs and 32 RBI in 94 games (316 plate appearances). He emerged as one of the more underrated catchers in all of baseball while playing for Oakland, and his breakout season in 2009 (.274, 15 home runs and 88 RBI) started a three season stretch where he hit 42 home runs and drove in 203 runs. Since then Suzuki’s offensive production has declined dramatically, but multiple teams in need of a veteran catcher still had interest in signing him.
If the Twins had signed another veteran catcher that they reportedly had interest in, like Jarrod Saltalamacchia or A.J. Pierzynski, the focus on Josmil Pinto’s development as the team’s catcher of the future would surely have fallen to the background for at least a couple years. But signing Suzuki looks like a great fit all-around, since he can serve as a veteran mentor to Pinto and he’s unlikely to make waves through the media if he isn’t playing as much as he might like to be.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.