Although I like Victor Caratini and can easily see a nice big league future for him, heading into 2019, I’ve made no secret that I’d like to see the Cubs pick up a veteran, back-up catcher to pair with Willson Contreras out of the gate. The possible benefits for the pitching staff and for Contreras, himself, are too much not to explore very seriously and aggressively.
To that end, the good news is that the market has some nice back-up catcher options this year, though one in Jeff Mathis went off the board on a two-year deal with the Rangers this weekend, and now another one is off the board, also on a two-year deal:
Breaking: Kurt Suzuki has agreed to a two-year deal with the Nationals.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) November 19, 2018
Terms aren’t out yet, but I reckon he got a decent chunk thanks to his offensive breakout the last two years, even at age 35. Suzuki is regarded as solid with pitchers and good defensively, but he consistently rates poorly as a framer. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of deal he gets.
Note that for the Nationals, Suzuki would come with the bonus value of having work very closely with Braves pitchers and coaches for the past two years. Think the Nationals want to have that info?
As for the Cubs, it’s an option off the table, though I will concede I don’t necessarily expect them to devote a lot of resources to this area. Maybe they can get Brian McCann on a reasonable one-year deal …
UPDATE: It is indeed a healthy deal for Suzuki, about the very high end of what you see for back-up catchers:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 19, 2018