Kurt Suzuki Dealt to the Nats
The longest tenured Oakland Athletic is an Oakland Athletic no more. Kurt Suzuki was traded today to the Washington Nationals in exchange for MiLB catcher David Freitas. Suzuki has been with the A’s since 2007, playing in 703 games for the green and gold. During that time in 2,787 plate appearances he logged a .254/.311/.378 slash line with a .304 wOBA and 86 wRC+. This year his numbers which have been in a somewhat consistent decline, finally bottomed out as in 75 games he had 278 plate appearances posting a .218/.250/.286 slash line with a .237 wOBA and 46 wRC+ being worth 0.0 WAR oddly enough largely on account of fielding. He has been a good defensive catcher cutting down 38% of baserunners in 2012 despite having a team chalk full of pitchers who can’t keep runners on.
Suzuki lost a lot of playing time to catcher of the future Derek Norris, and the recent move to acquire George Kottaras from Milwaukee to me spelled the end of Zuk’s time in Oakland. I was a little surprised this came after the deadline but regardless this move, a long time coming (though if I were to have guessed, I’d have assumed he’d head to Tampa Bay) will reunite Zuk with his former battery mate Gio Gonzalez for the Nationals who hold a two and a half game lead for the National League East over Atlanta.
The guy the A’s are getting back is largely inconsequential though he has the potential to be a nice ballplayer. John Sickels of Minor League Ball gave him a sleeper tag this spring and he is a guy who fits the Oakland A’s mold having a very high BB% throughout his MiLB career (14.1%) and posting well over 100 wRC+’s each year he has played professional ball. Sickels, in his piece also highlighted A.J. Griffin as a sleeper, said this of Freitas,
“Destroying the Carolina League, hitting .342/.427/.553 for Potomac with 11 walks, 12 strikeouts in 76 at-bats. Good plate discipline with power, defense is underrated, possible steal as a 15thround pick in ’10 (University of Hawaii). Age 23, need to see at higher levels.”
This year with the Potomac Nationals of the Carolina League he has posted a .271/.374/.407 slash line with a .358 wOBA and 120 wRC+ to go with a 12.1% BB% in 321 plate appearances.
It is not clear who will be called up to fill Suzuki’s spot on the roster as ten days have not yet elapsed for Norris to be available. Thanks for the good years in Oakland Kurt. Best of luck with the Nats!