The Minnesota Twins have come to an agreement with free-agent catcher Kurt Suzuki on a one-year deal, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. The deal will pay Suzuki $2.5 million plus incentives, per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
In Suzuki, the Twins have the second catcher they needed in the wake of trading Ryan Doumit to the Atlanta Braves. The 30-year-old Suzuki doesn't possess the bat of his predecessor-he is a career .253/.309/.375 hitter-but he should be able to run circles around Doumit behind the plate by being just a mediocre receiver. Suzuki will also earn $1 million less than Doumit in 2014, so he saves Minnesota some money.
Young prospect Josmil Pinto will likely get a majority of the starts at catcher in 2014, but Suzuki should still see plenty of playing time now that Joe Mauer has moved to first base.
Suzuki's ability to nab would-be base stealers has varied wildly over the years -- from 37 percent in 2008 to just 12 percent in 2013 -- but his reputation as a "great game-caller" and above-average receiver should allow the Twins to overlook that volatility. Suzuki was roughly a league-average hitter in his first three seasons, but he owns a 650 OPS over the last four. As a former member of the A's and Nats, Suzuki is well accustomed to batting in cavernous ballparks, so his offensive numbers shouldn't dip any lower at Target Field than they already have.
The deal is still pending a physical, as usual. Suzuki has been to the disabled list just once in his seven-year career -- an intercostal strain in 2010 -- so it's unlikely there will be a Grant Balfour scenario here.
When Suzuki does arrive in Minnesota, his new teammates apparently have big plans in store:
Kurt Suzuki hit a HR off me in '04 CWS Regional, carrying his team to victory. Payback will be easy now that we are (allegedly) teammates.— Glen Perkins (@glen_perkins) December 20, 2013