This season, no one is safe. Well, almost no one. The Athletics are a team not expected to compete in the American League West, so their general manager, Billy Beane, could pull off a number of trades during the season. Among the obvious trade candidates are Grant Balfour, Bartolo Colon, Coco Crisp, and pretty much everyone else not named Jemile Weeks or Yoenis Cespedes.
The one guy I think the A’s might trade this season is their catcher, Kurt Suzuki. The former product of Cal State Fullerton, Suzuki is currently signed through the 2013 season with a team option available for 2014. The A’s could, if Beane gets a good offer, decide to trade Suzuki at some point during the season.
Oakland has definitely gotten a lot of help from Suzuki over the years, but the team has younger talent in the minors waiting for their shot at stardom. Suzuki, 28, has been terrific in his handling of the young pitching staff Oakland has put together over the last few years, but his offense has been a bit of an eyesore.
The A’s have had some success in recent years with their pitching staff and while Suzuki doesn’t deserve all the credit for that success, I’d like to think he’s partially responsible for it. Guys like Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez, and a few other current and past players have praised Suzuki’s presence behind the plate.
Oakland ranked 10th in baseball last year in ERA (3.71), and 7th in Quality Starts (94). Whether or not Suzuki receives some credit for those numbers is up to you. But it is difficult, at least to me, to disregard what Suzuki has meant for the A’s behind the plate. Essentially, he has proven himself as one of the few leaders in Oakland’s young clubhouse.
Suzuki has, however, had a few problem areas. Throwing runners out at second is definitely one of them. The A’s have also seen a drop-off in most of Suzuki’s offensive numbers. Since breaking out in 2009, when he hit 15 HR and led the team in RBIs with 88, he hasn’t experienced much success offensively.
Last year, Suzuki hit a paltry .237/.301/.385 with 14 HR and 44 RBIs. He remained one of Oakland’s top power sources last year, but the drop-off in batting average and on-base percentage were not encouraging sights. This year, Suzuki is batting just .229/.236/.314 with 8 RBIs in 19 games.
Should he continue to struggle offensively, the A’s could explore the idea of trading him to another team. The team does, after all, have a talented prospect in Derek Norris who could help fill in for Suzuki. Norris was acquired in the deal that sent Gio Gonzalez to the Nationals and has had success in his short time in Oakland’s minor system.
What do you think? Could the A’s (or should the A’s, rather) trade catcher Kurt Suzuki at some point this year? Sound off below in the comments after answering the poll question!