Suzuki, 30, has a reputation to handle pitching staffs and be a game manager behind the plate with the Oakland Athletics (2007-2012) and Washington Nationals (2012-13).
In Suzuki’s seven-year career he has hit .253/.309/.375/.685 with 152 doubles, five triples, 67 home runs and 359 RBIs in 2,961 at-bats. He had his best season in 2009 when he led the A’s in hits (156), doubles (37) and total bases (240) and was second in home runs and runs scored behind Jack Cust. After the ’09 season he signed a four-year extension with the A’s before being traded to the Nationals for minor league catcher David Freitas.
Last year, the Cubs made their backup catcher Dioner Navarro available for trades but were unable to deal him. Navarro signed a one-year, $1.75 million deal last off-season and hit 13 home runs in 240 at-bats with an .856 OPS. Navarro played himself out of a new deal with the Cubs and wants more playing time, which he will not get behind Castillo.
“He’s had such a good year that he’s going to be a sought-after commodity for a number of teams,” team president Theo Epstein said. “We’ll certainly remain in contact with him. He was a good example of the type of free-agent move that pans out. He has the benefit of a nice year for him and maybe our relationship can continue going forward.”
“We’re really happy with Welington, but we need to find another catcher,” general manager Jed Hoyer said Tuesday. “We’ve cast a pretty wide net and we’ll keep on narrowing that focus down.”