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OC Register: Angels Offseason Options: Kurt Suzuki

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(This is the latest in a series of quick profiles on players who fit for the Angels to add over the winter. They are purely “informed speculation,” based on what we know about the Angels’ roster needs along with General Manager Billy Eppler’s preferences and history. We’ll have a new one every weekday, until the GM Meetings, which are the unofficial start of the hot stove season.)

KURT SUZUKI, C, Atlanta Braves

The basics: Suzuki came up with the Oakland A’s and has since bounced around the majors, with the Washington Nationals, Minnesota Twins and the Braves. He was an All-Star in 2014. He will play next season at 35.

2018 season: Suzuki played 105 games and hit .271 with 12 homers and a .776 OPS.

Contract status: Suzuki is a free agent, after completing a two-year, $5 million contract in 2018.

Why he makes sense: There are four routes the Angels can go with their catching position, aside from just letting it ride with José Briceño and Francisco Arcia. Two of them are costly, either by spending their prospect capital for J.T. Realmuto or with a big multiyear contract for Yasmani Grandal or Wilson Ramos. The cheaper methods are to just try to trade for someone else’s under-utilized backup – that’s how they got Martín Maldonado – or get an inexpensive veteran to pair with Briceño or Arcia. Suzuki represents this last option. He would essentially be another René Rivera, but with a better offensive resume. Although Suzuki is one of the oldest catchers in the majors, he’s still played 93 games behind the plate in 2018, and his offense was above average for a catcher. Suzuki is also a Cal State Fullerton product and a native of Hawaii, so perhaps returning to the West Coast would appeal to him. He could likely be had for around $2 million on a one-year deal.

Why he doesn’t: There’s no upside to Suzuki, because of his age. The best-case scenario is that he performs exactly as he did last season, but he certainly could get worse, and end up being no better than Briceño or Arcia or another young catcher the Angels can get on the trade market.

Previous players: C J.T. RealmutoRHP Nate EovaldiRHP Sonny Gray, LHP Patrick Corbin, LHP CC Sabathia, UT Daniel Descalso, RHP Julio Teheran, LHP Gio Gonzalez, UT Marwin Gonzalez, LHP J.A. Happ, LHP Will Smith.

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