Kurt Suzuki Reportedly on the Cubs Radar

As expected, Kurt Suzuki is on the Cubs’ radar as a possible backup to Welington Castillo according to a report from Comcast SportsNet.

The Cubs are looking to add a catcher or two this off-season and while they have been connected to Brian McCann and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, neither big money free agents fit into the backup catcher’s role the Cubs are looking to fill.

Kurt Suzuki spent last season with the Nationals and A’s and posted a .232/.290/.337 line in 94 games with 13 doubles, one triple, five home runs and a .627 OPS. The 30-year old veteran catcher has been shuffled back and forth between Washington and Oakland the past two seasons.

Dioner Navarro does not appear to be an option for the Cubs moving forward. Navarro figures to cash in on his career year and is looking for more playing time. The front office is staying in contact with Navarro but he is looking for a multi-year contract thought to be in the $10-$12 million range.

The Cubs view Welington Castillo as their everyday catcher for now and he is seen as one of the positives from last season. Castillo made improvement at the plate and with his defense before ending the year on the DL.

Welington Castillo hit .274/.349/.397 in 113 games last season with 23 doubles, eight home runs and a .746 OPS. After an inconsistent start to the year, Castillo hit .288/.388/.475/.863 with eight doubles and six home runs after the break. Castillo has fully recovered from right knee surgery and is expected to be ready to go when pitchers and catchers report to Mesa in February.

The Cubs have “cast a pretty wide net” for another catcher this off-season and could acquire a back-up backstop via free agency or trade.

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  • BosephHeyden

    They may as well go after Suzuki. But if they do go the Suzuki route, and if he were to perform how I think he would perform (I’d say playing the Cubs on a part time basis he could probably hit somewhere around .275 or .280, but not with neither as much power as Navarro did), then they need to sell the second he has value. I’m still not sure how Navarro made it the whole season without being traded.

    • TheWrongGuy

      Navarro made the whole season because of exactly what Jed Hoyer himself said about the Cubs: “The organization as a whole is very weak at catcher.” It is very hard to trade away someone of obvious value when you have nothing to replace it with or getting nothing in value in return. Not to mention Navarro’s value became bigger, both on the market and to the Cubs, once the Cubs traded Clevenger last season.

  • 07GreyDigger

    I called this. Good for me.

    • John_CC

      Can you feel all the jealous rage against you building? ;)

    • CubbyDenCritic

      If the Cubs sign Kurt, you will get a “Gold” star on your forehead.

  • John_CC

    Am I the only one that thinks Navarro for 2 years and $10M wouldn’t be a bad thing? Welli makes minimum so you’d have a really solid catching tandem, maybe the best, for $5.5M per.

    • Denver Mike

      I don’t think it would be a bad thing, but I also think Navarro is looking for more playing time than the Cubs are willing to offer.

    • 07GreyDigger

      Not to make a hockey analogy, but this situation is similar to Ray Emery and the Hawks. They wanted him to come back and were willing to give him decent money, but he left for less money and more playing time. He can get a starting job somewhere.

      • coachdon

        It depends on if they want to win or not. I would go as far as 3 years and 15 million for Navarro. Personally, I don’t like the starting catcher to start more than maybe 120 games max. So maybe you give Castillo 95 starts and Navarro the other 67. And adjust that to how they are playing at the time. Keeps both fresh. They’ll play better with stronger legs down the stretch.

        • Ripsnorter1

          That just makes too much sense. : )

    • Ripsnorter1

      They should sign Navarro.
      1. Switch hitting catcher who can actually hit.
      2. Makes for a good pinch hitter.
      3. Hit with power last year–slugged almost .500.
      4. Defense was decent.
      5. He speaks Spanish, too.

      • John_CC

        Dang man, we are on the same page lately! lol

        • Ripsnorter1

          I think you’ve been running with the wrong crowd….me!
          LOL

      • TheWrongGuy

        6. The current pitching staff loves to throw to him.
        7. He brings good enthusiasm to a young team.

        • Ripsnorter1

          Good additions!

    • Ripsnorter1

      And I actually think he’ll sign for less than $10 million. 2 years for $7 is what I think, or
      3 for $10..

  • Ripsnorter1

    “A source says the says Mariners have “no interest” in Jacoby Ellsbury but the Cubs appear to be stealthily waiting in the wings (link). The Cubs are probably targeting 2015 to make a move towards contending but its possible that they’ll look to make a splash this winter in advance of that.”

    Makes perfect sense to Theo: He’s a Red Sox player.

    He could become a coach, too, when his playing days are over.

    • cubtex

      hahahahaha. That is pure Ripsnorter right there :)))

    • Rational Logic

      Yep, it would definitely fit in with what Theo has done thus far with the Cubs, too: Sign aging veterans to long term contracts. Our team is filled with them – Castro, Rizzo, possibly Shark and Travis Wood. He should really focus on developing the farm system and ridding burdensome contracts owed to vets like Dempster and Soriano.

      • Ripsnorter1

        When Theo signs Ellsbury, what are you going to say?

        “Great move?”

        • Rational Logic

          No, I’ll be upset because it completely deviates from his plan thus far.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Just checking. : )

  • Ripsnorter1

    Suzuki: age 30 in Oct, 2013

    Suzuki: signed a 4 yr FA contract after 2009 and immediately became a bust.

    2009..274 BA…313 OBP…421 slug…15 HR..88 RBI ….734 OPS

    THEN THE BIG FA CONTRACT…
    2010…242 BA…303 OBP….366 slug..13 HR…71 RBI …669 OPS (lousy)
    2011…237 BA,,,.301 OBP….385 slug…14 HR…44 RBI…686 OPS (lousy)
    2012…Oakland cuts its losses and deal him to Nats midseason.
    Totals =.235 BA….276 OPS….338 slug..6 HR..43 RBI….605 OPS (double lousy)
    2013…232 BA…290 OPS…337 slug…5 HR…32 RBI….627 OPS (just plain awful)

    What you can expect:
    He’s proved he can hit .232 BA .290 OBP and .337 slugging.
    But with another FA contract, he ought to be worth about .210 BA, .265 OBP and .297 slugging.

  • Eugene Debs

    Gonna be hard to top what Navarro brought to the field as the backup last year. Admittedly, however, I was not excited with Navarro as the backup going into the season. Suzuki is capable, but not exactly “the missing piece.” What backup catcher is?

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