Kurt Suzuki is happy to be back with the Oakland A's and back in a race for a postseason berth. As of this morning, the Athletics are second in the AL West, 2.5 games behind the Texas Rangers, and they have a 2.5 game lead for the second Wild Card spot. When the Washington Nationals acquired Suzuki last August, they had a 2.0 game lead in the NL East and they went on to win the division with Suzuki posting a .301/.355/.482 line with three doubles and four home runs in his final 26 games and 93 PAs of the Nats' run at the division title. Late last night, the Nationals, who find themselves 14.0 games behind in the East and 9.5 in the Wild Card Race, sent Suzuki back to the A's in a trade for 22-year-old right-hander Dakota Bacus. The Nationals announced the trade this morning:
The #Nationals today acquired RHP Dakota Bacus (age: 22) from OAK in exchange for C Kurt Suzuki. Bacus will report to Hagerstown.— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) August 23, 2013
Suzuki, through his own Twitter account, expressed his excitement about going back to the A's team that drafted him in the second round of the 2004 Draft, and brought him to the majors to make his MLB debut on June 12, 2007:
Hello Oakland! Pumped to be back and ready to go make a run at this. Let's do this!!!!!— Kurt Suzuki (@kurtsuzuki) August 23, 2013
Before he did that, Suzuki thanked the Nationals and Nats fans for their support in the last year-plus:
Thank u nats fans for the love and support! I enjoyed every minute. First class org. It's a business and now it's time to go get that ring.— Kurt Suzuki (@kurtsuzuki) August 23, 2013
The A's were in need of catching. John Jaso, acquired from the Mariners this past winter in a three-way trade with the Nationals, has been out since July 24th, dealing with concussion issues. Derek Norris, acquired from the Nationals in the winter of 2011 in the Gio Gonzalez trade, suffered a fractured toe recently. David Freitas, another former Nationals' catcher who was sent to the A's for Suzuki last summer, was next on the depth chart according to Athletics' manager Bob Melvin, and though Norris was expected back soon the A's apparently wanted to add to their catching depth.
According to a report by the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser, in return for Suzuki, the Nationals, "... receive Class-A Beloit starter Dakota Bacus and Washington will pick up half of Suzuki’s remaining salary this season, or about $675,000." The Nationals' press release on the deal includes the following information on Bacus, a 22-year-old right-hander drafted out of Indiana State University in the 9th Round in 2012:
"Bacus, who will report to Hagerstown of the Single-A South Atlantic League, joins the Nationals after going 9-5 with a 3.56 ERA (48 ER/121.1 IP) in 26 games/21 starts for Beloit of the Single-A Midwest League. Bacus ranked among Athletics farmhands in ERA (seventh) and wins (tied for eighth) upon his departure from that organization.
"The 22 year-old Bacus was Oakland’s ninth-round selection in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft out of Indiana State University. In two professional seasons, he is 12-5 with seven saves and a 3.09 ERA in 44 games/17 starts. He posted strong strikeout-to-walk (2.9/1) and home run (0.4 per 9.0 innings) ratios since signing with the Athletics last June.
"In his pro debut last season, Bacus went 3-0 with seven saves and a 1.80 ERA in 18 games/one start for Oakland’s Rookie-level Arizona Summer League affiliate. In homerless 30.0 innings with the AZL Athletics, Bacus struck out 10.5 batters per 9.0 innings en route to a 7.0/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (35 strikeouts/5 walks)."
The Nationals are expected to call Jhonatan Solano up from Triple-A Syracuse to take Suzuki's spot on the roster:
In 122 games and 445 plate appearances in his time with the Nationals, Suzuki had a .239/.297/.344 line with 16 doubles and eight home runs.
The Nationals are officially Wilson Ramos' team now. Nats' General Manager Mike Rizzo talked Ramos up to hosts Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier during this week's edition of "The Mike Rizzo Show" on 106.7 the FAN In D.C.
"When this kid's healthy," Rizzo said, "he's as good as anybody in the league. Offensively, defensively, leadership, running the staff, game calling. His throwing is getting much, much better. And he's a hard-working guy with great offensive ability and a guy who loves handling the pitching staff." If his play alone hadn't established Ramos as the Nationals' clear-cut no.1 catcher, today's trade did.