The Twins have signed catcher Kurt Suzuki to a two-year, $12MM contract extension with a third-year vesting option, according to director of communications Dustin Morse. The vesting option, like his annual salary, is for $6MM and can be triggered based on plate appearances in 2016. Suzuki is represented by MVP Sports Group.
Last offseason, the Twins made the decision to move Joe Mauer from catcher to first base, inking Suzuki to a one-year, $2.75MM deal as the star’s replacement behind the dish. Suzuki has performed well, hitting .304/.367/.386 in 347 plate appearances and making his first All-Star team. He hit .235/.290/.353 in the three years prior, so his offense has been a nice surprise for the Twins.
Defensively, Suzuki certainly passes the eye test and has tons of experience behind the plate. He also seems to have a good reputation among the pitchers who he is responsible for tending to, and is an able blocker. But he has struggled in the pitch-framing department, ranking dead last in baseball with -17.1 runs on the year according to Stat Corner. Baseball Prospectus, likewise, rates Suzuki as a positive in stopping balls in the dirt but a negative at winning strikes.
It does not seem that the Twins achieved much of a discount by locking up Suzuki, but they certainly did prevent him from finding a bigger deal and bolting after the season. That has plenty of value for a club that will surely be looking to bring several young pitchers on line this year and next. For Suzuki, signing now not only let him choose to stay in place (after bouncing around quite a bit in recent years) but also protected him from a market that can often be hard to gauge. While he looked like one of the few desirable catchers set to hit free agency, neither are there many teams that looked to be big players for his services.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the extension. Yahoo’s Tim Brown first reported the term, with Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (via Twitter) and Phil Miller of the Star Tribune (via Twitter) providing information on the vesting option. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Because of Joe Mauer moving to 1B, we don’t any decent catchers in our system. Pinto can’t play defense and handle a pitching staff. Kurt can.
Twins have a pitching staff?
Cemeteries have dead people. It’s not too much of a stretch.
Yes, they do. In the likes of Hughes, Gibson, Meyer, May, Milone, and potentially Nolasco, if he can straighten himself out, they have a pretty decent one too.
There’s pretty compelling evidence that Kurt, your good buddy Kurt, can’t handle a pitching staff.
Kurt can’t frame a pitch to save his life and is worth negative value as a catcher. Add to that the fact that he can’t throw anyone out and you get a subpar defensive catcher who is on the wrong side of 30 and having a career year. You don’t extend a player like that. You trade him for assets. He’s not a building block. He just isn’t…
Pitch framing is overrated, and I’m a sabermetrics guy. He’s an above ave. catcher whose not soft unlike mauer.
He’s a catcher having an above-average year. That’s different from being above average. If you want a clearer picture of who he really is you need to look at the entire body of work, and to discount or believe in outlier behavior you need to have a solid explanation for a change that gives you reason to disregard the math. I haven’t heard a single explanation for his surge that’s better than “outlier”. For the record I am willing to accept LASIK, “was overplayed in prior engagements”, and even “likes the park”, but nothing has been offered at all.
They got Zuked!
God, I hope they didn’t give him the $8+ mil a year he was looking for initially.
See you at next year’s trade deadline, Kurt!
They don’t have a Major League catcher.
Because Pinto cannot catch; and their best catching prospect is in Class A
if they gave into his demands they wasted money he isnt going to help them other than be a filler
He’s a good catcher who doesn’t take games off. Yes – he is a spot filler for a couple of years because there are no real catchers above Class A. 6 million a year is not that much in the big picture. They’d have to pay at least that much for half the player if they let him walk. There are no glamorous catchers on the free agent market this fall. You want Chris Herrmann and Eric Fryer platooning next year?
$6 million is acceptable for him. I wonder how fans who were championing him are going to do if the falls back to his career numbers going forward, though? I also think the Twins need to think about moving Pinto as part of some package this offseason at this point if they aren’t going to use him as a major-league catcher.
If its not a trade do it another day too much news already!
You act as if they can’t cover both?
Very good news.
It became apparent to me that it was better to keep Suzuki for as long as possible after seeing how poorly Pinto caught, and although he won’t replicate the offensive numbers he has now he will do okay. He his the anchor behind the plate at this point. Bravo.
Good for Suzuki. I think Kurt will really help develop what has been a mediocre staff into something a little more respectable. He helped a lot of the young A’s pitchers mature early in his career.
I was hoping for more moves from them. Mainly involving Willingham and Duensing. I kinda gave up on them being able to get anything for Correia after he laid a couple eggs his last two times out, though. Now it’s time to cut Correia and move on. Might still be able to move Willingham in a waiver trade.
For what the Twins spent on Nolasco, this is a steal.
glad for them to be able to get a deal done to retain the player
Unassisted Triple Play
Good for the Twins. Good for Kurt Suzuki.
i wanted him on my halos next year 🙁
He’s known for his durability, and now catcher’s hitting .304 ! He could easily get more than 8MM 3+ deal in any other team.
Terrible move. Just terrible. They should have moved him.
Who would replace him? Pinto?
I love Kurt Suzuki — without him behind the plate for the Nationals in 2012, they may have had more difficulty reaching the playoffs. That said, I’m not sure one season of hitting .300 makes this contract worthwhile.
I really wanted him traded, but signing Suzuki isn’t horrible. I was completely against anything over 9 total, but a slight overpay is okay I guess. He will regress, but it could have been way worse in dollars. If you can’t get anything for him in a trade then you can’t get anything for him.
The Twins are very short on catchers. They needed one whether it was Suzuki or someone else. I don’t even think any team traded for a C this deadline, meaning the offer, if any, was extremely small since Kurt was the best C available.
Josh Willingham got 7 mil per year, and Kurt is much more valuable. It’s not an overpay.
Willingham at 7M at the time was considered a steal, because it was. At the time, Willingham’s offense was worth probably 9-10M. The problem is he can’t really play defense. That wasn’t a huge worry in 2012 when he was absolutely crushing it, but he hasn’t done that since and has been hurt a lot. I’d say 7M overall, he’s now getting paid what he deserves for what he’s done combining all three years of production…or lack there of due to health. This is what hitters get these days. The problem is, he’s not hitting.
This is an overpay for Suzuki, especially if he regresses, but it’s by a few million so it’s kind of insignificant.
You forget that catchers are more valuable than corner OF’s in the world of sabermetrics. If you average out all of Suzuki’s major league seasons (using WAR), his average worth is $8.5 mil / season. Willingham’s value over his 3 seasons with the Twins? $7.1 mil per season. It’s not an overpay for either one of them.
And my comment went to approval so I’ll make a quicker smaller post instead.
I’m not sure why you are bringing up career numbers for any player that is inconsistent. The Twins aren’t paying Suzuki based on what he did in 2007 or 2009 or anything like that. They are paying him for what he’s done this year and the recent past. Prior to this year he was terrible for two straight years. If the Twins would have paid him for his career production then he would have made a lot more than a little under 3M this year. Instead they paid him what he deserved at the time, which was very little. Now they are paying him because he’s doing really well this season and hoping that’s the Kurt that sticks around. They’re hoping for no regression. If he regresses than the 12M becomes more than just a slight overpay.
Time will tell. I’d rather spend 6 mil/ yr on a decent catcher than a decent 1B/ DH even if it’s an overpay. They are vital to a team’s success because they are so valuable.