Kurt Suzuki is only 28. An age that most would think would be part of a player’s prime. So, despite an underwhelming offensive season last year, it’s safe to assume that Kurt Suzuki is in his prime.
There are a few things that are wrong with this. Perhaps not wrong, but they certainly work against Suzuki staying in Oakland.
One: He is a solid offensive option at a position that is mainly derived of offensive threats (catcher).
Two: As stated, he is in somewhat of his prime, meaning he still has prime years of his career. (Duh.)
Three: He plays for a rebuilding Oakland team.
Let’s start with one. Despite the aforementioned underwhelming seasons, Suzuki is still a very good option at catcher. In his breakout year in 2008 he posted a WAR of 3.3., which was the same WAR posted by Mark Teixeira and was a higher WAR than those of Miguel Cabrera (3.1) and Robinson Cano (1.2). Position-wise, his WAR blew those of Jason Varitek (0.2) and AJ Pierzynski (0.6) out of the water. (All according to baseballreference.com, mind you.)
Two, he’s in his prime. If I had a nickel for every time I said that in this piece, well let’s just say I’d be in the prestigious 15 cent club.
And now we get to the fact that he plays for…Oakland (buh, buh…. buh.) So now that you’ve taken in that Kurt Suzuki is not only in his prime (20 cents!) and is an offensive threat at an offensively depleted position, take into account that he plays for Oakland. The A’s are in the midst of another Billy Beane rebuilding phase and are currently siphoning out their current talent for younger, future talent. (Gio Gonzalez, Andrew Bailey and Trevor Cahil were all quietly dealt for an intriguing hull of prospects.)
In one of those deals, Beane acquired former Nationals top-five prospect Derek Norris: a catcher who can do a lot of things. He hits for power and draws a lot of walks (now it’s starting to make sense as to why Beane acquired him) and is a good defensive catcher. Basically everything but hitting for average.
Norris is presently at AAA and should be with the A’s in the next season or two. Meaning Suzuki’s time in the Bay Area could be short.
Because of his offensive ability at a position where contenders might look to upgrade (Boston, Tampa Bay) or if an injury strikes, Kurt Suzuki might very well be a big draw on the trade market.