In hopes of catching the Texas Rangers for the AL West crown, the Oakland Athletics orchestrated a trade with the Washington Nationals Thursday evening to reacquire former catching incumbent Kurt Suzuki, reports Amanda Comak of the Washington Times.
Suzuki, a native of Hawaii, was originally drafted by the Athletics out of Cal State Fullerton in the second round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft. Nicknamed "Kurt Clutch" by his college teammates, Suzuki played just 314 games in the minor leagues before being called up to the majors on June 9th, 2007. He hit .249/.327/.408 in 68 games for the A's that season, serving primarily as Jason Kendall's backup before being handed the reigns full-time in 2008.
In all, Suzuki spent four and a half years as the starting catcher in Oakland, compiling a 11.0 WAR while hitting .254/.311/.378 with excellent defense behind the plate. His best season came in 2008 when he was worth nearly 4 WAR over 148 games. That year, he hit .274/.313/.421 with 37 doubles, 15 home runs, and 88 RBIs; all of which are career highs.
In anticipation for their impending playoff run, the Nationals traded for Suzuki on August 3rd, 2012, sending catching prospect David Freitas to Oakland. He would go on to hit .267/.321/.404 in 43 games down the stretch en route to the first postseason appearance of his career.
This year, Suzuki served as Washington's primary starter early on as Wilson Ramos battled a hamstring strain. He has seen his playing time diminish significantly since Ramos returned from his injury. Overall, he has posted a lackluster 65 OPS+ in 68 games for the underachieving Nationals ball club this year.
The immediate return for the Nationals remains unclear, but it is believed Oakland will be sending a pitching prospect to Washington in return for their new backstop. It is also suspected that Suzuki will immediately step in and become Oakland's starting catcher. Athletics catchers - mostly Derek Norris and Stephen Vogt - have combined to hit .255/.354/.381 this season.