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Field of Links: Why trade for Kurt Suzuki?

Aug 23, 2013, 10:22 AM PDT


One of the most widely respected Oakland Athletics is back. The A’s have officially re-acquired catcher Kurt Suzuki in a trade with the Washington Nationals in exchange for right-handed pitcher Dakota Bacus. The A’s also receive cash considerations in the trade.

Suzuki was hitting .222 with three home runs and 25 RBI in 79 games with the Nationals. That’s not exactly going to spark a seemingly smoldered playoff contender. Or is it?

This is a solid move for the A’s. While he won’t help a lot offensively, the A’s were growing desperate for warm bodies at the catcher position. John Jaso’s season is in jeopardy, and Derek Norris is very banged up. Now the A’s can platoon the right-handed Suzuki with the lefty Stephen Vogt. Lets be clear here, this move isn’t about offense. Suzuki can step in already armed with a wealth of knowledge about the A’s pitching staff.

[RELATED: Ray Ratto’s take on the Suzuki trade]

If the A’s are going to survive their recent struggles, it will be on the backs of their starting pitchers. And they are stoked to have Suzuki back.

Suzuki is happy to be back too. The San Francisco Chronicle got in touch with him on Thursday evening, and he echoed the sentiments of the starting pitchers he will soon be reunited with.

“I was kind of shocked, but very pumped,” he told Susan Slusser as he boarded a plane from Chicago to Baltimore. “I wouldn’t have ever thought of this happening, but everyone knows how much I love and respect Bob Melvin and the coaching staff there. It’s going to be fun.”

Suzuki is a positive influence on a clubhouse that could use some good vibes right now. The A’s have lost five of their last seven series and are 9-12 in their last 21 games.

When the A’s shipped Suzuki out last season to make room for Norris, it was an act that signaled a changing of the guard behind the plate. The move was met with a bit of criticism, as many, including some in the clubhouse, thought sending one of the team’s leaders packing was a bad idea with the team in contention.

Norris did a spectacular job winning the trust of the starting pitchers and keeping them comfortable on the mound. It all worked out as the A’s platooned Norris, and the soon-to-be-acquired George Kottaras during the stretch run. Norris is likely heading to the disabled list with a fractured toe.

This is the next best option. The A’s are far more comfortable with Suzuki than anyone they’d have to call up. They need a leader. With September around the corner they can’t afford to have a starting catcher learning on the job.

As an added bonus, A’s fans can now dust off all of their old Suzuki shirseys, jerseys, and fatheads.

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