Minnesota Twins: Will Kurt Suzuki be the Starting Catcher After the Trade Deadline?
Last night staying up late watching the Twins lose to the A’s wasn’t as bad as the late night Twitter rants from all the Twins fans I follow. Everyone was taking turns blasting Paul Molitor for his decision to bring in Casey Fein in the 10th inning and Kurt Suzuki‘s inability to throw out Billy Burns at third base. The tweets about Kurt Suzuki involved everything from his on-base percentage to his throwing ability. Some were calling for Josmil Pinto. However I am not convinced he’s the answer.
The catchers on the 40-man roster for the Twins include Suzuki, Pinto, Chris Herrmann, and Eric Fryer. Hermann and Fryer are virtually the same player. Both play slightly above average defense and are below average hitters. Fryer, 29, and Herrmann, 27, are both guys that the Twins front office loves. At this point in their career they are both back up catcher’s at best.
Pinto, 26, is still in Rochester and is not performing. In fact he is barely performing at all. His slash line in 49 games so far is .232/.310/.379. Not all bad but could be a lot better. Pinto was like Danny Santana in the way he was called up and then didn’t come close to the numbers from the year before.
When Pinto was first called up we thought he was the next catcher the Twins could rely on. He failed to hit anywhere close to what he did in September the following year. Besides the hitting I do not believe he is capable of handling the pitching staff. His defense is suspect at times and he hasn’t thrown out very many runners this season in Rochester. For all the reasons mentioned it is clear why he didn’t break camp with the Twins and why we haven’t seen or heard of Pinto at all.
Suzuki, 31, is under contract through 2017. Currently hitting .227/.283/.303, his line is much lower than last year’s All-Star effort. His breakout season at the plate last year was never going to happen this year. A career .255 hitter, it would be unfair to expect such a season again. He is getting paid more many than what he produces at the plate because of how he handles the pitchers.
Jul 7, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Detroit Tigers managerBrad Ausmus
(7) watches batting practice before a game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
This of course will bother a lot of fans but look at Brad Ausmus. In an 18-year-career he never hit more than 10 homeruns and was only a .251 hitter. His career WAR is 16.4. So why did he last so long? From all that has been said about him, he was a starting catcher desired by many because of his well above average defense and his relationship with his pitchers.
Suzuki is no Ausmus but in a sense is similar to him. That is why the Twins hang on to him and why he continues to start even with the pour hitting.
Will the Twins trade for a catcher at the deadline? One that can hit better than Suzuki? Will they call up Pinto? I say no to all of the above. The Twins like Suzuki’s work too much to trade him. As for Pinto, he won’t make the team till September call-ups if he even gets invited or stays on the 40-man roster.
So for now the Twins will continue to roll with Suzuki until a better option presents itself.