If you thought the 2012 non-waiver trade deadline could keep the Washington Nationals from making a move to shore up their defense headed into the final two months of the regular season, think again. The Nationals traded this afternoon for 28-year-old veteran catcher Kurt Suzuki, sending minor league catcher and 2010 15th-round pick David Freitas to the Oakland Athletics.
Washington acquired catcher Kurt Suzuki this afternoon in a trade that sent minor league catcher David Freitas to Oakland.
Just hours before Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline, rumors surrounding the Nationals’ interest in adding a veteran catcher to relieve a battered Jesus Flores began surfacing. Among the names mentioned were the Texas Rangers’ recently-designated for assignment Yorvit Torrealba and the Boston Red Sox’s Kelly Shoppach. Neither were acquired, however, as the deadline passed silently without a move.
The Nationals were counted among the losers of the trade deadline by Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports, who cited their failure to pull the trigger on a deal for either a starting pitcher or a backup infielder as a blow to the experience required for a successful stretch run.
The addition of Suzuki serves to fill a void in depth at the catcher position that has existed since Wilson Ramos went down in May with a torn ACL. Each Washington catcher that has since been called up to serve as Flores’ backup has also landed on the disabled list this year, a list that includes Sandy Leon, Carlos Maldonado and Jhonatan Solano and has left Flores without a reliable backup.
Suzuki, who is a career .254/.311/.378 hitter with 57 home runs over the course of his six-year career, is suffering an off-year. In 75 games with the Athletics, Suzuki has posted a .218/.250/.286 line with 15 doubles and just one home run.
More importantly, what Suzuki has lacked at the plate this year he has more than made up for in the field with an American League leading .996 fielding percentage. He is also at the head of the pack in caught-stealing percentage, which sits at 38.3 percent after throwing out 23 of 60 runners this season. He will no doubt be a defensive asset for the team in the remaining 58 games.
Freitas, who has posted a .271/.374/.407 line in 74 games with Class A advanced Potomac, will likely report to the Stockton Ports.
If you are still questioning general manager Mike Rizzo’s decision-making skills, perhaps it is time to rethink that as well.