Kurt Suzuki fine with starting or backup duties

Brian Tinsman
November 25, 2018 - 8:54 pm
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Catcher Kurt Suzuki is headed back to Washington this winter after a deal was reached shortly before Thanksgiving.

The only question: will he be as a starter or a backup? The answer, as far Suzuki is concerned, is that he isn't concerned. He's here to win.

"At this stage in my career, I haven’t gotten past the first round of the playoffs. I haven’t played in a World Series before. That’s my goal. That’s the ultimate goal of every player, is to win a World Series” Suzuki said, according to MASN's Byron Kerr. “He (Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo) said I’m the guy, whether that’s going to catch 50 games or I’m the guy that’s going to catch 120 games.

"He made it clear that he’s going to bring me in to help the team win, and that’s the bottom line."

Two years ago, the Nats made a similar move early in the offseason, bringing in Derek Norris (via a trade with the Padres) as a solution to the loss of Wilson Ramos via free agency. The feeling at the time is that Norris would have a shot to win the starting job.

Months later, on the eve of Spring Training, the team reached a deal with free agent Matt Wieters. Wieters was a clear favorite to win the starting job, and the Nats offered Norris his unconditional release in early March. 

Just don't expect a repeat of that with Suzuki. He is fine with whatever is asked.

"I think at this point of my career, I don’t have an ego. I’ve never had an ego," he said. "When a team tells you they want you to come in and help the team win whatever capacity it is, I’m willing to do it.”

Speculation remains that the Nats could still pursue an option with more offensive firepower to pair with Suzuki's strong defense. Yasmani Grandal could be acquired via free agency, with J.T. Realmuto (Marlins) or Ramos (Rays) could be a target in a trade.

By locking up Suzuki early and leaving his role ambiguous, the Nats will almost certainly improve their position in trade or contract negotiations. He could also be the defensive answer that the Nats need behind the backstop.

 

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