Throughout the offseason, The Nats Blog will look back at every player’s 2012 season to summarize and analyze his performance, and we’ll look ahead to his possible role in 2013. We’ll go from #1 Steve Lombardozzi all the way to #63 Henry Rodriguez until Spring Training. Enjoy.
In January of 2012, pitcher Gio Gonzalez hung up his Oakland Athletics cap and exchanged it for a Washington Nationals one after an offseason-defining trade. Eight months later, Gonzalez’s longtime battery-mate, Kurt Suzuki, followed him to D.C. in a less glamorous but equally influential trade.
After leaning heavily on Jesus Flores and other Minor League call-ups throughout the season when injuries plagued the Nationals catching staff, the team needed a fresh, Major League-caliber catcher to call their games through their pennant race and into the postseason. After trading minor league catcher David Freitas to the A’s, Suzuki became that catcher, and he performed exceptionally for the Nationals in their most crucial period.
Suzuki played in 43 games with the Nationals, and put together an offensive slash line of .267/.321/.404 in 146 at-bats. Behind the plate, he made just five errors all year (three with the Nats), and allowed only six passed balls (two with the Nats). He also threw out 28 base stealers, which ranked in the top ten of all Major League catchers for the season.
Next Year: Suzuki’s contract extends through 2013 with a vesting option for 2014, which will apply if he plays in at least 113 games in 2013. He will also most likely fill the role of starting catcher for the beginning of the season, and possibly beyond, until Wilson Ramos is able to make a full recovery from his two knee surgeries. Either way, the Nationals look to employ two very talented players behind the plate.
Up Next: #25 Adam LaRoche