It’s official Oakland A’s fans, Kurt Suzuki is coming back home to Oakland. With both John Jaso and Derek Norris battling injuries, Suzuki couldn’t have come back home at a better time. Suzuki’s supposed heir apparent, Derek Norris, has struggled since the A’s traded Suzuki last year. Norris has the big pop in his bat that Suzuki lacks, but he is awful as a defensive catcher. During the playoffs last year, Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland, took advantage of Norris’ bad defense by playing small ball. The A’s are likely to make the playoffs once again so having a defensive stalwart at catcher is of upmost importance.
Not only will Suzuki be the best defensive catcher on the team but he is also the perfect player to manage young pitchers. Throughout his years in Oakland, Suzuki had a sixth sense when it came to young pitchers. With Sonny Gray, Jarrod Parker, Dan Strailey, and AJ Griffin expected to lead the pitching staff to the promised land this September, Suzuki will be there to build their confidence. The 8th inning meltdown on Tuesday would not have been as devastating if Suzuki was behind the plate because he would have blocked both wild pitches by Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle.
Expect both Jaso and Norris to be on the DL for the foreseeable future for the Oakland A’s. Bob Melvin will likely platoon the right handed Suzuki with the left handed Stephen Vogt. We all saw Suzuki’s decline as a hitter, so don’t expect him to be an improvement at the plate. Suzuki’s .223 batting average and 2 HR’s will still give the A’s no pop at the catcher position but more importantly his experienced play calling and great defense will help fill the A’s biggest weakness. Not only will Suzuki help on the field but his veteran presence and warm personality will help change the mood in the A’s locker room. Expect Kurt Suzuki to become even more important to the A’s his second time around.