Gomes and Suzuki want to win, not fight over playing time

Ben Krimmel
February 18, 2019 - 3:47 pm
Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki has no problem splitting time with Yan Gomes.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports


The math is pretty simple behind the plate for the Washington Nationals: Two catchers plus no ego equals winning on the field.

Washington manager Davey Martinez indicated the newly acquired Yan Gomes and Kurt Suzuki, who is on his second stint with the ballclub, will split time behind the plate.

"You see a lot of teams, you don't have those guys who can catch 150 games, 160 games anymore," Martinez said. "You don't. To have two guys like that on your roster, it's a really good problem to have."

"They’re both going to play a lot. They understand that. How we work it? We’ll figure it out," he said.

And fortunately for the Nats' skipper, that arrangement works just fine for both Gomes and Suzuki.

“Oh, I don’t even care. At this point in my career, picking a team that has a chance to win a World Series is very important to me,” Suzuki said.

An opinion Gomes echoed

"That's just something that if we make that a (big) deal, this team is not going to go forward. I just think we need to both be ready whenever our names get called," Gomes said Saturday.

"(There's) two guys that have done it with some good pitching staffs, and it’s only going to benefit (the team). But if we put the playing time thing ahead of ourselves, it’s not going to be beneficial for the team," he said.

READ: Spring Training Guide: Meet the new Nationals

To that end, Martinez also indicated he is willing to do the sensible thing and pinch hit one catcher for the other when the opportunity is there. 

For those curious: Wilmer Difo would be the emergency catcher.

But unlike Difo, much of Suzuki's and Gomes' value will come from their handling of the Nationals stellar pitching staff. 

“You try not to mess it up,” Gomes said of the Nats' starters. “These guys are good enough that they have established themselves, and you’re just trying to help them get through on that.”

The Nats rotation, headlined by Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and the newly acquired Patrick Corbin, total about $96 million of salary for the 2019 season alone.

“Their value to our team is incredible, especially with our starting pitching,” Martinez said.

And with talent like that to work with, Suzuki isn't worried about his own playing time, just winning. 

“And like I told (General Manager Mike Rizzo) and Davey from day 1, ‘Whatever you need me to do, I’ll be ready, whether it’s 50 games, 60, whatever. However many games you want me to catch,’" Suzuki said. "If I can help the team win every time I’m out there, that’s great. I just want to win at this point in my career. I know the clock’s ticking a little bit. I’m not getting younger. That World Series is getting to be pretty important right now.”

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