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kurt suzuki oakWhen the Cubs traded for catcher George Kottaras earlier this offseason, it seemed like they were done bringing in MLB-level catchers on big league deals. Kottaras could ably backup Welington Castillo, and the Cubs could set about accumulating emergency depth at AAA, where the system is incredibly thin in the catching ranks.

But Mark Feinsand reports that, despite the two catchers already present, the Cubs are interested in catcher Kurt Suzuki.

Patrick Mooney actually reported the Cubs’ interest in Suzuki back in November, at a time when he seemed like a back-up option, rather than a third option. Here’s what I wrote about Suzuki at the time:

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.

That’s all still true, of course, but it calls into question whether Suzuki is somehow unable to find a big league deal, or – less likely – if the Cubs are considering carrying three catchers on the roster. Even less likely still is the possibility that the Cubs would sign Suzuki to back-up Kottaras in the event of a Castillo trade. I tend to think the Cubs are probably keeping in contact with Suzuki in case he can’t find a big league deal.

To the extent Suzuki is considering a minor league deal, then surely he makes a ton of sense. As things stand, the Cubs have just Castillo and Kottaras as legitimate options behind the plate, with guys like Eli Whiteside, John Baker, and Charles Cutler – none of whom would make you feel particularly confident as a fill-in starter. Having Suzuki as depth at AAA? That’s about as good as a third catching option gets, even if the bat is very light.

  • Jon

    I’m still trying to find the racism in this thread

    • ssckelley

      I cannot find it either.

      • TSB

        Let’s say Matt Kemp or some other Black player is a free agent. And someone posts something like “he should sign with the Cubs because we have Edwin Jackson and they can speak in ebonics and they like the same kind of soul food etc.” If not racist, maybe a little condescending?

        • ssckelley

          Not even close, we are talking about a catcher and pitchers being able to speak the same language. You cannot see value in that? This isn’t just 2 players on the same team who share the same interest and might hang out together after a game.

          But again I have not found any evidence of Suzuki being able to speak Japanese. His parents were from Japan and, IMO, it would be an asset if he could.

          • TK

            You freaking morons! Kurt Suzuki is as American as any of you. He’s freaking Hawaiian — THATS AMERICAN, NOT JAPANESE!!!!!!!! I seriously doubt he knows kanji from jumanji.

            Repeat after me . . . I G N O R A N T ! ! ! ! !

            Also, considering Tanaka’s age, and the fact that he comes from the Osaka area, the odds are that he speaks half-way decent English. Osakans LOVE everthing America and English is popular there. There are a lot of Americans and Europeans to be found around Osaka. That area is extremely friendly to English speaking people.

            You shouldnt assume that all Japanese only speak Japanese, especially kids of Tanaka’s generation. English is a mandatory subject in ALL Japanese schools. Many young Japanese even go to special English schools, kind of like “night school.” Shoot, Hiroshi Mikitani didnt get an MBA from Harvard speaking Japanese. Most Americans, non-hispanic, only speak English. The rest of the world is not like that.

            • ssckelley

              No shit, I know he is an american but that still does not change the fact that he might be able to speak Japanese which could be an asset in this situation.

              Both of his parents were from Japan and in their culture it is considered rude to speak to each other in english so there is a good chance that he learned both languages at an early age.

              Some of you are being WAY to sensitive about this.

  • Pat

    Not sure about whether or not this would be a good signing. What’s his CERA?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Heh.

  • Local BleacherBum
    • CC

      Let’s hope he stays there one more year and is posted for 2015.

      • ssckelley

        Why?

        • DarthHater

          Cuz the Cubs should have more money next year and be closer to being competitive.

          • Local BleacherBum

            If he stays for this year, and Rakuten decides to post him next offseason, he might just stay for the extra year because without the posting tagged to him he could be in line for an even bigger pay day in the 2015 offseason.

            • DarthHater

              Cubs should have even MOAR money and be even MOAR competitive in 2016. :-P

              • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor (no relation)

                Tanaka would have to sit out 2015 to move to an International (MLB) team if Rakuten did not post him this year. He would not have to sit if he were to sign with another Japanese squad in 2015. NPB rules are strict. Teams have control of a player for 9 years. They don’t have a good CBA like MLB’s union.

          • Local BleacherBum

            I understand your point but he isn’t posted this season his price tag could theoretically rise greatly. he’ll get paid regardless but your never know. Just trying to play devil’s advocate

            • DarthHater

              “Just trying to play devil’s advocate”

              Yea, me, too.

          • ssckelley

            Other teams would have more money, like the Yankees.

            • CC

              It just feels like we might be in a better position next offseason to spend heavier in the FA market, coupled with another year of advancement for our top prospects could justify a higher bid for the cubs on tanaka next year.

  • Local BleacherBum

    Dude Brett: Jon Greenberg and David Kaplan just gave you a shot out over twitter.

    David Kaplan ‏@thekapman 58m
    What’s your favorite Chicago sports rant? Use #CSNTalk -answers on SportsNet Central at 630/10 on @CSNChicago
    Expand Reply Retweet Favorite More

    jon greenberg ‏@jon_greenberg 50m
    @thekapman @CSNChicago http://www.bleachernation.com/2012/12/04/meta-ish-dave-kaplan-takes-to-twitter-on-the-state-of-the-cubs-organization/ … #CSNTALK
    Expand Reply Retweet Favorite More

    David Kaplan ‏@thekapman 1m
    @jon_greenberg Now that is awesome research!
    Expand

    • Local BleacherBum

      shout out*

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Heh. That’s funny – I didn’t remember that rant/post until Greenberg mentioned it. It was a good one.

      • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

        I barely remember it last December I was in newborn baby sleep depravation mode and everything is very cloudy.

        • DarthHater

          “sleep depravation”

          You’re still depraved, MG.

          • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

            Well I am now in one year old “I don’t sleep because I wanna play” mode and I’ve lost the will to give a shit about my typing.

  • Greenroom

    This is not for you specifically, but assuming any person who may share the same cultural background and hence have “everything in common” is one of the basic tenets of racism. But racism is the assertion that there are biological differences between groups based on skin color. And usually these definitions of differences are asserted as being biologically inferior. Eg. less intelligent, better at certain sports, etc. The issue becomes a slippery slope when non-whites are constantly assumed to have differences with others defined as being in their groups, while white ethnic groups do not have the same assertions. I do not believe, or hope to believe that people are suggesting biological difference associated to skin color, yet their may be some simple differences with regards to the understanding of the implications of race and ethnicity historically in America. And comments I have read simply assert that people see race and ethnicity as similar, when they are different, and assuming that people b/c of how they look will have things in common. That can be an issue. I think it is best on this baseball forum to keep things baseball related and not get into this debate..as TWC stated it is extremely ignorant, but I do not believe it is racism. imho

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      Agreed completely and you’ve laid out one of the major issues with racism.

    • Internet Random

      vvv

      • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

        Is AWESOME

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      Why you pointing at me IR?

      • Internet Random

        ^^^

  • Internet Random

    “But racism is the assertion that there are biological differences between groups based on skin color.”

    So am I a racist if I think Sub-Saharan Africans have biological differences that make them more likely to have sickle-cell disease than Swedes are?

    • DarthHater

      Yea, let’s have this discussion… :-P

      • Internet Random

        Heh.

      • Pat

        Never disrupt the narrative!

    • Greenroom

      Perhaps we could relate it to people who are from Greece and their rates of sickle cell? There is just as much difference between racial groups as between them, actually more within, but for the sake of discussion. Genetics has proven this since the late 60’s.

      http://newsreel.org/guides/race/whatdiff.htm

      • Internet Random

        Interesting but not responsive.

        • Greenroom

          Interesting comment. No, I do not believe your comment was racist…that would suggest superiority/inferiority related to race. Or that there are differences that can be assigned to race alone. But I think I did refute your initial comment, thanks for the lack of credit, but I do not need affirmation. I actually agree with the majority, if not all of your posts on here. I am sorry that we somehow seem to be odds with my post. and part of my post was that we should not be discussing race here. peace~

          • Internet Random

            “No, I do not believe your comment was racist.”

            Thank you, but I think that means you need to reformulate your definition of racism.

            “But I think I did refute your initial comment . . . .”

            What comment? I asked a question seeking some clarification of your definition.

            “I actually agree with the majority, if not all of your posts on here.”

            I actually agree with the majority of your post—the one that I first asked about above and the very one we’re talking about. I certainly agree with the sentiment.

            But I think the definition that you set forth is faulty.

            I don’t think that any “assertion that there are biological differences between groups based on skin color” amounts to racism.

            Let me give you another example: I don’t think it should qualify as racism if one believes that, as a general proposition, whites are more susceptible to melanoma of the skin than blacks. Yet under your definition, holding that belief—which, by the way, is supported by an overwhelming preponderance of the evidence—makes one a racist.

            • Greenroom

              1. No, I do not need to reformulate my definition of racism. I chose not to go down the road of negative and assumptions about skin color related to abilities, etc. I was trying to avoid this conversation.

              2. Ok, question. Not a comment. Sorry I did not specifically clarify the difference between the 2. And your question seemed more of a challenge to my initial comment vs. an question that was based on dialogue and conversation. that, was my mistake.

              3rd. Your example is exactly related to skin color. hence why people with darker complexions who have fairer skin in other areas are actually more likely to develop skin cancer in those (fairer skin) areas.

              so you are using a sincere implication of skin color in relation to the position of the sun. the actual problem relates to when we, well not actually you and I, assume this is directly related to the issues I listed above. and as such, without getting into a long discussion, i said it was most likely related to negative connotations of people of different races. racism is a biological difference (skin color) usually associated with social implications and it is socially constructed from time/place. Feel free to email me if you wish to discuss this further. I wont keep up the discussion on here. some good points. peace~

  • SenorGato

    I wonder how interested they are in moving Castillo. They definitely aren’t acting as if they’re married to him as a long term guy here. I don’t think he’s as talented as Rizzo or Castro (plus he’s at least 3 years older than either) and hasn’t done as much as Samardzija to get considered a Coredation piece of the Future. The printed comps to Yadier Molina this year reeked of an organization trying to sell a player as big time.

    • Blackhawks1963

      My sense is TheoJed aren’t all that enamored with Castillo. I’m sure they have their reasons. Maybe they think he’s nothing special and that he has hit the peak of his performance ability and is therefore at the peak of his career trade value. I would not be shocked to see Castillo traded within the next year.

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    White Sox are still looking for a starting catcher to replace Flowers/Phegley. If the Sox and Cubs could work out a deal for Castillo then maybe signing Suzuki makes some sense. I would offer Castillo, Barney, and Villanueva for Quintana and Keppinger.

    • X The Cubs Fan

      Add De Aza

    • SenorGato

      Chris Sale or bust

    • Blackhawks1963

      Sox hold Quintana in high regard and already are rumored to have turned down San Diego’s straight up trade offer of Chase Headley.

      • commander bob

        Quintana? He is a really good pitcher. The Sox wouldn’t trade him for the entire Cubs roster. Where do people come up with this nonsense?

        • Drew7

          “The Sox wouldn’t trade him for the entire Cubs roster”

          Obviously – that’d put them in one helluva roster crunch.

  • Tj

    “Makes a ton of sense” … Well, of course it does. The FO is lucky to have you cheering its every move.

  • NorthSideIrish

    Cubs sign Jonathan Sanchez to a minor league deal…meh…why not?

  • Stogie

    I wish they would deal to Castillo in a trade to Baltimore for Wieters. Maybe with Russell.

    Wieters is a left handed bat, and hits 20 HRs every year. With all our top prospects being right handed, we need balance.

    • Local BleacherBum

      Castillo for Weiters will never happen. Way too lopsided of a trade. I’m assuming you think we’d need more to give to acquire Weiters. I personally don’t think Weiters is all that great of a hitter. Don’t get me wrong he’s a great offensive catcher, but over I don’t think he’s a stud. Plus he’s a FA in 2yrs and he’s a Boras client so he will get paid big time. His last 2yrs of arbitration will get pricy too. I’d personally rather not give up anything for Weiters and have Castillo who will be cheaper and has upside still.

  • Local BleacherBum

    Cubs sign lefty Jonathan Sanchez on a minor league deal. Great minor signing for the cubs! His #’s against lefty’s are great. I think he has the makings of a great LOOGY reliever

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/chi-jonathan-sanchez-chicago-cubs-20131218,0,5785503.story

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      Yeah that’s a fine zero risk move but I’m sure the stupid comments will be following.

      • toby

        I’m sure there will be “championship” or “World Series Champs” comments. I, personally, like the signing.

      • mjhurdle

        PRINT THE TICKETS!!!1!!!11

  • FarmerTanColin

    The Royals just made a move for Danny Valencia. Would’ve liked the Cubs to grab him. Perfect platoon for thirdbase. Career 140 wRC+ and an OPS over 800 against lefties. Last year he was at 181 wRC+ and OPS 1.031. It’s not like the Royals traded away nothing but the Cubs have some outfielders at Iowa that may have gotten it done.

  • Frank

    I seen on mlbtraderumor.com that the Cubbies signed Jonathan Sanchez to a minor league deal….anything else on this?

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