The Future of Kurt Suzuki in Oakland: Long Term Catcher or Trade Bait
Thursday June 7th, 2012
John Burns (MLB reports Intern Candidate): Kurt Suzuki has been in the Oakland A’s organization his entire career since being drafted in the 2nd round out of Cal State Fullerton in the 2004 MLB draft.
Suzuki is having a rough 2012 season so far, he is only batting .207 with no homers and 15 RBIs. The Athletics have struggled in the hitting department this year, as they are dead last in baseball with a team average of .213. This is one of the main reasons for their 24-31 record to start the year.
As the trade deadline approaches, the last place Athletics will most likely be sellers. The A’s will have to make a hard decision this July on their once called “franchise catcher” Kurt Suzuki. The 28 year-old catcher is signed through the 2013 season with a 2014 option with the Athletics. Butt that does not mean Suzuki is guaranteed a spot with the A’s.
There have been rumors since the offseason that Suzuki could possibly be dealt. His value is not the greatest right now because he is coming off a 2011 season where he only hit .237. Plus, Suzuki is off to a terrible start this year as well. In March it was reported that the Tampa Bay Rays inquired on Suzuki with their lack of depth at catcher. Suzuki could become an affordable addition to a contending ball club because he is only signed through 2013 and it would not take much to acquire Suzuki (his current salary is $5 million for this year). I quite frankly do not see Suzuki being the long-term catcher in Oakland with his productivity declining every year.
With GM Billy Beane’s style of a constant cycle of rebuilding, it would not be surprising to see Suzuki out of Oakland by mid-July. I still believe that Suzuki can produce. He has battled a hand injury all year which has affected his swing. Suzuki is still one of the league’s better defensive catchers and would be a great addition to a contending ball club.
The Athletics only have one main catcher on the active roster and that’s Kurt Suzuki. So if he is traded, somebody will obviously be called up or signed to start. A catcher who could fill that opening could be 23 year-old prospect Derek Norris, who was acquired by the Athletics in late December in the Gio Gonzalez trade. Norris is regarded as one of the Athletics top prospects and rightfully so. He is a power hitting catcher who is only 23 years of age. The A’s top catching prospect is currently with the Sacramento River Cats, which is the Athletics Triple-A farm team. Norris is hitting .283 with 7 homers and 33 RBIs with the River Cats this season.
Derek Norris has all the potential to be an everyday catcher in the Major Leagues and if Suzuki is traded, Norris would most likely replace him. It would be a new chapter in Athletics baseball with an up-and-coming highly regarded catching prospect to start. There have been rumors that Norris could move to 1st base or DH because the A’s would want to protect him from getting banged up catching. I do not see the A’s moving Norris to any other position because he has improved every year at catcher and threw out nearly half of all would-be base stealers last season.
I see Derek Norris being not only the future catcher of the Athletics but also as the future franchise player with his explosive bat and improving defense. So does Kurt Suzuki have a long term future in Oakland? Not on Billy’s watch.
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Posted on June 7, 2012, in MLB Player Profiles and tagged a's, baseball, billy beane, catcher, derek norris, gio gonzalez, kurt suzuki, mlb, oakland athletics, trade. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.