Arguably the most complete team in the National League, the Washington Nationals bolstered their lineup on Friday when they acquired veteran catcher Kurt Suzuki from the Oakland A’s for minor league catcher David Freitas.
The Nationals and A’s exchanged catchers on Friday, with Oakland dealing big league veteran Kurt Suzuki to Washington for Minor Leaguer David Freitas.
By dealing the 28-year-old Suzuki – who is under contract for $5 million this year, $6.45 million in 2013 and an $8.5 million team option for 2014 with a $650,000 buyout – the young and hungry A’s are giving a prime opportunity to highly regarded rookie Derek Norris.
Ironically, the 23-year-old Norris was a fourth round draft pick by Washington in 2007 and was included in the off-season trade that sent Gio Gonzalez to the Nationals. Oakland also received promising minor leaguers A.J. Cole (a 20-year-old right-hander who is currently in Single-A),24-year-old righty Brad Peacock and 25-year-old left-hander Tommy Milone (who is 9-8 with a 3.68 ERA in 21 starts for the A’s this season).
With starter Wilson Ramos out of the season, Washington’s catching tandem has been 27-year-old veteran Jesus Flores (.225 average, .586 OPS) and Sandy Leon (a rookie with a .280 average in 25 at-bats). Though Suzuki is struggling with the bat this season (.218 average, one home run and a .536 OPS in 262 at-bats), he has thrown out 38 percent (23-of-60) of the baserunners who have attempted steals against him. He has also guided an A’s pitching staff that has produced a 3.43 ERA.
With Stephen Strasburg, Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Edwin Jackson and Ross Detwiler, the Nationals have one of the top rotations in baseball. The team’s ERA is Major League-leading 3.26, and Nationals starters are tops in baseball with a 3.17 ERA.
A 15th round pick out of the University of Hawaii in 2010, the 23-year-old Freitas was batting .271 with a .374 on-base percentage and a .780 OPS at advanced Single-A Potomac.