Kurt Suzuki is a Phillie killer who could figure in 2021 catching plans if J.T. Realmuto walks

Jim Salisbury
·2 min read

A Phillie killer who could figure in 2021 catching plans if J.T. Realmuto walks originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Phillies spent over $700 million on free agents the last three offseasons. Spending all over baseball could be impacted this winter by revenues lost because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that's not going to stop us from taking a daily look these next few weeks at some free agents who would fill needs and help the Phillies get better.

Today: Catcher Kurt Suzuki

Career to date

A 14-year veteran who has played for four different clubs, Suzuki has been a productive regular and an All-Star with Minnesota in 2014. Over the last two seasons, he has split time with Yan Gomes in Washington. He hit 17 homers and helped the Nationals win the World Series in 2019.

Suzuki has had some big games against the Phillies during his time in the National League East. He has 11 homers and 28 RBIs in 192 career at-bats against the Phils and 7 homers and 13 RBIs in 112 at-bats at Citizens Bank Park.

2020 season

Among National League catchers with at least 125 plate appearances, Suzuki ranked third in batting average (.270), fourth in on-base percentage (.349) and fifth in slugging (.396) and OPS (.745). He hit .345 (10 for 29) against left-handed pitching.

Defensively, Suzuki struggles to keep the running game in check. He threw out just 5 of 33 would-be base stealers (15 percent) in 2020. However, he gets high marks for his dedication to handling pitchers and his ability to call a game. 

How he'd impact the Phillies

If J.T. Realmuto signs elsewhere, the Phillies will find themselves scrambling for catching. Free-agent James McCann, profiled earlier, would be the best fit to replace Realmuto. After that there's a big dropoff. Suzuki, Yadier Molina or Mike Zunino would all be possibilities to bring some veteran presence to the position with Andrew Knapp also getting reps.

Contract outlook

Suzuki's contract called for him to make $6 million in 2020. At 37, he's probably looking at a one-year deal that won't break the bank.

Subscribe to the Phillies Talk podcast:

Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | Watch on YouTube