Kurt Suzuki Rumors
Recently, I crunched the numbers on vesting options from the last three years and found that just over 29% of them were triggered. Which players can lock in their 2014 options based on their performance this season? Let's take a look..
- Kurt Suzuki, Nationals: $9.25MM option vests with 113 starts in 2013.
- Jamey Carroll, Twins: $2MM option vests with 401 plate appearances.
- Wilson Betemit, Orioles: $3.2MM option vests with 324 plate appearances (combined 700 between 2012 and 2013).
- Lance Berkman, Rangers: $13MM option vests with 550 plate appearances.
- Roy Halladay, Phillies: $20MM option vests with 259 innings pitched (combined 415 innings pitched between '12 and '13).
- Barry Zito, Giants: $18MM option vests with 200 innings pitched.
- Johan Santana, Mets: $25MM option vests with 215 innings pitched or winning the 2013 Cy Young Award.
It's also worth noting that Francisco Liriano has a $8MM club option for 2014 with the Pirates, but it can vest at any of three levels, $5MM, $6MM, or $8MM, based on the number of days he is not on the DL this year with a recurrence of his right arm injury.
The Nationals are keeping their focus on their short-term chances of contending, owner Mark Lerner said during a chat with reporters (including The Washington Times' Amanda Comak) at the team's Spring Training camp. The club's payroll is now over $100MM and while they don't want to go overboard with spending, “this is a special year," Lerner said. "We have obviously incredible talent and there was a couple parts that [general manager Mike Rizzo] wanted and we said, ‘Do what you need to do,’ and that’s basically how it happened." Lerner said the Nats are concerning themselves with the next three seasons and aren't yet concerned about keeping Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper in Washington over the long term. The two young stars are team-controlled through the 2016 and 2018 seasons, respectively.
Here are some more items from the Nats' camp...
- Also from Lerner, he said that he and Rizzo would "talk when the time is right" about a contract extension. "I think this is the place where he wants to make his home and we certainly want him to be here, so I’m sure we’ll come to some understanding at some point in time," Lerner said. Rizzo's contract is only guaranteed through this season but the Nationals hold options on the general manager for 2014 and 2015.
- Kurt Suzuki hasn't talked to management about a contract extension but says he'd love to remain with the Nats beyond this season, MLB.com's Bill Ladson reports. Washington holds an $8.5MM team option on Suzuki for 2014 that right now seems unlikely to be exercised since Wilson Ramos is waiting in the wings at catcher. It's possible the Nationals could decline the option and still re-sign Suzuki at a lower price.
- Also from Ladson (Twitter link), the Nationals had interest in Chris Young during the 2010-11 offseason but didn't sign him after seeing the MRI results of Young's throwing shoulder. Young had another injury-plagued season with the Mets in 2011 but rebounded to make 20 starts in 2012. The Nats signed Young to a minor league deal today.
After an arduous start with the Dodgers, Brandon League has settled in nicely as the team's closer, writes Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times. The right-hander turned his season around thanks to 18 scoreless appearances out of his last 19, giving him a 0.44 ERA during that stretch. Here's a look at the news and stories making headlines on the final Sunday of the regular season...
- Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki has exceeded all expectations for Washington after the team acquired him from the A's at the non-waiver trade deadline, writes Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com. The 28-year-old's strong performance has come on both sides of the ball, especially with his bat. "He's gotten clutch hits," Ryan Zimmerman said. "I think we all knew he was a better hitter and his track record shows he was a better hitter than what he was doing this year.
- Thanks to a strong campaign replete with increased playing time, Mets outfielder Scott Hairston heads into the offseason looking for a deal that will allow him to continue to expand his role in 2013, says Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. Hairston will be able to use his 1.9 Wins Above Replacement as a negotiating chip as he looks to become an everyday player for the entirety of the season. "I pretty much played in every role possible, and the last few weeks or so I've been playing every day," Hairston said. "It's just one of those things where I really don't know what's going to happen. I'm just going to prepare myself this offseason as if I'll be playing every day."
- The resurgence of Nate McLouth hasn't been an easy endeavor for the former All-Star, but the hard work has the scrappy outfielder playing a major role in the Orioles' success, writes Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun. "It's part of the path that God has laid out for my life. And I don't question it. Were the last couple years tough? Heck yeah they were. But I know I am stronger and better because of it," McLouth said.
Congratulations to the Braves, who clinched a postseason berth with a win over the Marlins last night. Though Atlanta still has a shot at the NL East title, they're more likely to play the National League's second Wild Card team in a one-game playoff once the regular season ends. Here are some links from the NL East...
- Trading for Gio Gonzalez and bringing back Davey Johnson were some of the most important moves the Nationals made last offseason, GM Mike Rizzo told MLB.com's Bill Ladson. Rizzo called Wilson Ramos Washington’s “catcher of the future,” but made it clear that the Nationals will have lots of playing time for Kurt Suzuki next year.
- Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen “blew his second chance” with Miami and doesn’t deserve another one in the opinion of FOX Sports writer Jon Paul Morosi. The Marlins stuck with the outspoken manager after his comments about Fidel Castro in April, but there are rumblings that his job is no longer secure.
- Someone like Nick Swisher could be “the ideal offensive fit” for the Phillies’ lineup, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News writes.
- MLBTR's Mark Polishuk previewed a possible extension for Kris Medlen earlier today.
The Braves became the latest team to beat the struggling Astros tonight, winning a 4-1 result on the back of 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball from Tim Hudson. With the Braves' win and the Nationals' split of a double-header with the Marlins today, Washington is only two games up on Atlanta in the NL East. Here's the latest from around the division...
- With the Phillies looking to keep payroll under the luxury tax threshold, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News looked at Reed Johnson, Jonny Gomes and Scott Hairston as right-handed hitting free agents who could be paired with lefty bat Nate Schierholtz for a productive outfield platoon that would come at a much cheaper cost than what the Phillies would have paid Hunter Pence in 2013.
- The Nationals don't see new catcher Kurt Suzuki as a "rental," GM Mike Rizzo told reporters (including CSN Washington's Mark Zuckerman). Suzuki is under contract through 2013 and the Nats plan to keep him along with regular catcher Wilson Ramos, who will be recovered from a torn ACL suffered in May.
- Fangraphs' Eric Seidman looks at how a Jason Bay for Heath Bell/John Buck trade would benefit both the Marlins and Mets in terms of salary relief and filling lineup holes. The two clubs had some discussions before the trade deadline about such a deal, though talks went nowhere at the time.
The Athletics traded catcher Kurt Suzuki and cash considerations to the Nationals for catcher David Freitas, the teams announced. It sounds like the A's are picking up most of Suzuki's 2012 salary and a bit of next year's salary, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (on Twitter).
The move provides the Nationals with Major League catching depth to complement Jesus Flores and Sandy Leon. Washington manager Davey Johnson said Suzuki is a "number one catcher" who will bring a "veteran presence" to the Nationals, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports (on Twitter).
Suzuki has posted a disappointing .218/.250/.286 batting line in 278 plate appearances so far in 2012. To his credit, he has prevented 38% of stolen base attempts against him this year (23 of 60) and the Athletics have an American League-best 3.43 ERA. The A's are now likely to rely more heavily on rookie catcher Derek Norris and recently-acquired backstop George Kottaras.
The 28-year-old Suzuki earns $5MM in 2012 and $6.45MM in 2013. His contract includes a $8.5MM club option for 2014 ($650K buyout). Evidently no American League team placed a claim on him when he hit the waiver wire. Every National League team but the Reds had to pass up chance to claim Suzuki for him to become available to Washington.
Freitas, 23, has a .271/.374/.407 batting line in 321 plate appearances at Class A Potomac this year. The Nationals selected him in the 15th round of the 2010 MLB draft.
Former University of Florida catcher Mike Zunino was named the Golden Spikes Award winner today, which recognizes him as the best amateur player in the county. Zunino was the third overall pick by the Mariners in last month's draft and recently signed for $4MM. Here's the latest from his new division, the AL West...
- Athletics GM Billy Beane did not deny that he has spoken to the Rays about catcher Kurt Suzuki, reports ESPN's Jim Bowden (on Twitter). Beane did say that he speaks to Tampa GM Andrew Friedman regularly, however.
- Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik has given no indication that he's willing to trade Felix Hernandez, but SI.com's Tom Verducci says they should make their ace available. He says the reality of Hernandez's age, workload, and contract should not make him untouchable.
- The Mariners designated Adam Moore for assignment last Sunday and have yet to make a decision about what they're going to do with him according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (Twitter links). The backstop has battled knee problems but agent Mike McCann insists his client is healthy.
- Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria told Gammons that he’s prepared to make additions to his team if necessary. "We still need a couple of parts, and in time we'll go get them," Loria said. The Marlins' offense ranks 14th in the National League in runs scored, so it won’t be surprising if president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest pursues a bat or two this summer.
- Athletics catcher Kurt Suzuki could make sense for the Marlins, Mets or Rays, Gammons tweets. The Marlins have John Buck and Brett Hayes behind the plate, the Mets have Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas, and the Rays have Jose Molina and Jose Lobaton. The A’s called up prospect Derek Norris, so they could be positioned to listen to offers for Suzuki.
Many baseball people expect the Padres to trade Carlos Quentin, but the team is in a fluid situation, so that assumption is not safe, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. The Padres should have some payroll flexibility this offseason, so they could keep the outfielder despite their modest budget. Here are Rosenthal’s latest rumors:
- Jeff Francoeur has played through ailments and injuries this year and the Royals like his leadership, so they aren’t necessarily looking to trade him.
- Last August the Royals offered Melky Cabrera the same two-year, $13.5MM contract Francoeur eventually signed, but Cabrera declined the offer and the Royals traded him a few months later.
- Rosenthal suggests the A’s aren’t eager to trade veterans for marginal returns. The team is hovering around .500 and plays 18 of its next 28 games at home. The A’s would probably love to trade Kurt Suzuki, Rosenthal writes.
- One exec predicts the Phillies don’t have enough confidence in their outfield depth to trade Hunter Pence this summer.
- An agent predicts Cole Hamels will sign a monster free agent contract this coming offseason and Rosenthal says the Phillies won’t go near $150MM for six years or $175MM for seven years.
- Rival teams frequently ask about Darwin Barney and it’s possible the Cubs will trade the second baseman.
- The Orioles seem to have the most interest in trading for Diamondbacks left-hander Joe Saunders, Rosenthal reports.
- The Orioles’ Triple-A team, which includes Miguel Tejada, Jamie Moyer and Dontrelle Willis, tops the Orioles’ MLB team in career earnings, Rosenthal notes.
- One executive suggested a growing number of teams could request 72-hour windows to negotiate extensions with trade targets this summer because of the provision in the new collective bargaining agreement that prevents teams from obtaining draft pick compensation for players acquired midseason. However, players wouldn’t necessarily be interested in signing and it’d cost teams time and leverage.
With Opening Day right around the corner, the Yankees are set to enter the 2012 season with tremendous pitching depth. Yesterday, we learned that the Bombers offered Freddy Garcia to the Marlins but couldn't get the Fish to bite on a deal. Here's more on the Yanks' pitching and other items out of the American League East..
- The Rays say that they haven't talked with the A's about Kurt Suzuki, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com. Earlier today, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wrote that the Rays have been pushing hard to land the catcher.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes the Yankees' wealth of left-handed pitching this season is a change of pace from what they've had in years past. Aside from a David Wells here or a Sabathia there, Sherman argues that the club hasn't been successful when it comes to developing and importing lefty arms.
- Players' union president Michael Weiner is happy about the Rays increased payroll and hopes to see the club's attendance numbers rise along with it, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Owner Stuart Sternberg has said they made the increase essentially as an investment, hoping that spending beyond their means will lead to more wins, and, in turn, better attendance.
- Brett Lawrie told Jayson Stark of ESPN.com that he wasn't thrilled with the way that the Brewers were looking to develop him and happy to be dealt to the Blue Jays.