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kurt suzuki oakAlthough there have been a proliferation of rumors connecting the Chicago Cubs to the bigger catching names in free agency, I have remained of the mind that the Cubs will be content to devote scare resources elsewhere. Welington Castillo has emerged as a fine, cost-controlled starter behind the plate, and the Cubs simply need to complement him with a quality, veteran back-up. (The Cubs could also stand to add a quality depth catcher or two at AAA while they’re at it.)

In that vein, Patrick Mooney reports that the Cubs are looking at veteran backstop Kurt Suzuki. The 30-year-old is a free agent after spending the last two years splitting time between the Nationals and A’s. Never a big stick, Suzuki was once an above-average offensive catcher, but those days seem to be far behind him with back-to-back sub-75 OPS+ seasons. Worse, he hasn’t seen his OBP over .300 since 2011 (and, even then, it was just .301, with a .303 mark the year before).

But you aren’t getting Suzuki for his bat, as is the case with most back-up catchers. He’s considered a quality defender behind the plate, and a good presence both with the pitching staff and younger players. At a minimal price, there would be nothing wrong with bringing Suzuki into the fold. Welington Castillo had minor knee surgery following the season, so maybe there’s all the more reason to make sure there’s a quality back-up in place.

Mooney’s piece also digs into why Dioner Navarro is unlikely to return to the Cubs after his huge 2013 season, complete with thoughts from Theo Epstein on the subject.

  • YourResidentJag

    On board with this….do it.

  • waffle

    my memory is Suzuki is still capable of bursts of productivity. And he is good defensively…

  • MightyBear

    Suzuki would be a great option if they can’t get Navarro or someone comparable, which it sounds like they won’t. I’d be good with Suzuki.

  • oswego chris

    this move would get my stamp of approval

  • Drew

    And to completely stereotype, would he be a good fit to work with Masahiro Tanaka?

    • Drew

      Yeah, go ahead and delete this. He is American born isn’t he. . .

      Damn you for posting before researching. . .

      • Jon

        It’s a reasonable assumption, but then when I suggested Ausmus would be a good fit, I had people on my ass for weeks.

  • Voice of Reason

    This is a perfect sign for The North Siders! Lock him up! Get ‘er done!

    Then go and sign Young away from the Athletics. Then see what starting pitchers we can sign that could be flippable OR possible starters that have the legs to be with us when we are ready to compete.

  • ssckelley

    I have mentioned Suzuki before (stroking my own ego), I think he would make a nice backup to Castillo. I cannot help but wonder if what has plagued him the past couple of years offensively can be fixed or he would benefit from a change in scenery. He just turned 30, is solid defensively, and should not cost a lot of money to acquire. I see no downside here.

  • Blackhawks1963

    Suzuki would be coming here to play a fair amount. Certainly more than a backup catcher. Why would we have interest in Chris Young? He can’t hit his way out of a paperbag and serves to exasperate the dysfunctional current state of the offense, even if he is just here to platoon. Don’t like Young at all unless he is dirt cheap and competes for a 5th outfielder spot.

    • cub2014

      Suzuki or any catcher that will be coming to
      the Cubs will be coming as a backup.

      • Blackhawks1963

        If Suzuki comes here then I strongly expect a near equal job share with Castillo. Suzuki is not strict backup material in the classic sense.

        • cub2014

          Well I disagree, I think the Cubs are expecting
          a breakout year from Castillo and they will
          certainly give him the AB’s to find out.

          Right now Castillo is our #4 hitter, we might
          see big power numbers out of Castillo this
          year. The signs point that way but again
          you never know.

        • ssckelley

          Every ball player thinks they are starting material, Navarro is shopping himself around thinking he can be a starter as well. But the fact of the matter is if Suzuki did sign with the Cubs he would be the backup to Castillo. The Cubs are looking to the future, a player like Suzuki is not the future while Castillo could be.

    • Voice of Reason

      Young will be dirt cheap. It would be rolling the dice to see if he can rebound.
      We don’t have many other options for outfielders who are ready to jump in and contribute. Maybe Young turns it around with us?

      I think Young is the type of sign that this organization is looking at with every team. Someone cheap who could turn it around.

      They already came out and specifically said no big name players for big contracts.

    • ssckelley

      I would be interested in Chris Young and another “Young” (no relation) Delmon. Both hit lefthanded pitching well, would be buying low, and have some nice upside.

      • Nick

        Delmon Young has zero upside, especially if he has to walk onto the field at any point. Wathcing him in Minneapolis for so long was dreadful. And to think the Twins gave up Matt Garza for him makes it even worse.

        • ssckelley

          At 28 years old he is done?

  • SH

    Always liked Suzuki, would be a nice addition to the squad.

  • MXB

    “devote scare resources elsewhere” — I’m trying to think of some witty response but can’t come up with anything

    • Jono

      “That’s what she (Beth Murphy) said” ???

      • MXB

        nice!

  • jt

    Cubs 2014 lineup will not be able to afford to give away outs
    Giving Suzuki 250 PA’s is giving away a lot of outs.

    • TheRiot2

      No guarantees of getting the same production from Navarro if we resigned him,but he does make sense if we do.We’re not going to get much offense from any backup catcher we bring in. So Suzuki would be okay I guess,but if Beef can catch 75 % of our games then that would limit Susuki’s AB’s to maybe around 170- 175. Either way it does require the Cubs to use a trade (not likely) or drafting a TRUE catching prospect. Something this franchise has never been able to do.

  • Cheryl

    Besides Suzuki I’d start looking for starting pitchers in two or three locales – Seattle, the Nationals and St. Louis. If St. Louis is interested in Castro, as some reports indicate, there may be some pitchers within their minor league system as well as an outfielder that may interest the cubs. I’ve heard more about the quality of the pitchers in Seattle’s system but don’t know whether there’d be any mutual interest. We know there’s definite interest in the Nationals and rumors in terms of the Diamondbacks, One rumor that surprised me was the Phillies talking with Toronto about Bautista. Would the cubs be interested in him?

    • ssckelley

      pfffft, the Cardinals will not give the Cubs anything of value for Castro. They will attempt to offer a load of garbage for him and when the Cubs counter with “real” prospects the Cardinals will go somewhere else. Just like the trade deadline when they desperately needed a catcher and they tried to give the Cubs a bag of balls for Navarro thinking the Cubs would just give him away.

      • Cheryl

        You’re probably right about the Cardinals/ Seattle and the Diamondbacks could do better for us. But what about Bautista? Could he be that transition outfielder the cubs need? The one report I read said the Toronto and Phillies are pretty deep in talks.

        • Jose’s Eyelid

          Wasn’t the rumor Bautista for Brown? We have no major league ready player similar to Brown and unless you are proposing a Baez/Soler/Almora trade for Bautista, Toronto won’t listen.

          • Cheryl

            I think you’re right about bautista for brown. Bautista is 33. They’ll want quality in return even at that age. He’s also had injuries. Age and injuries may bring the price down but there’s no way I’d trade the package you nentioned. What about Castro for Bautisra?

      • TheRiot2

        Got to see if they have anymore Broglio’s to unload on us.Talk about stiffing their trading partners. Brock for Broglio or Templeton for the OZ,yikes.Then there was acquiring Matt Holliday foe 3 nameless prospects.How about to a lesser extent Larry Walker for another nobody. Walker was at the end of his career but put up two useful seasons gimping it out sort of like Buckner did for us. Did I mention I HATE THE CARDS ?

  • Napercal

    This would be a great pick-up. The Cubs need to add some veterans who are quality guys. There is an enormous leadership void on the team. Veterans like Suzuki and Granderson provide value to a young team that exceeds their on-field abiliies.

  • Die hard

    Rev up the bike for this move with a few wheelies for good measure- if he plays 70 games or more Cubs end up .500 or close to it

  • http://Permalink papad1945

    On a different note. What about Mark Grace as the new radio announcer?

    • Rizzovoir Dog

      Is he out of jail?

  • WNebCub

    I’m with that. I know he’s had some issues…but he’ll get back in the game soon i’m sure, why not with the Cubs in the booth.

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