When the Washington Nationals announced that they had acquired catcher Kurt Suzuki from the Oakland A's Friday afternoon, both GM Mike Rizzo and manager Davey Johnson referred to the 28-year-old veteran of six MLB seasons as a "No.1" catcher with Johnson telling reporters, as recounted by the Washington Post's James Wagner, that he saw the backstop as, "'a No. 1 catcher'" who would bring a, "'... veteran presence to my catching core.'"
CSNWashington.com's Mark Zuckerman wrote, in an article on the acquisition entitled, "Nationals acquire Suzuki from Athletics", that part of the appeal of the deal for Nats' GM was that Suzuki was a controllable player who could contribute to the stretch run this season and beyond:
"He's not a rental," Rizzo said. "He's going to be here for more than this season. He's a guy who can really take that rotation together and get it going better than it already has."
Suzuki is in the third year of a four-year deal that pays him $5M this season and $6.45M in 2013 with a club option for 2014 at $8.5M (or a $650K buyout) according to Cot's Baseball Contracts. The Nationals, and Rizzo in particular, spoke often before the Non-Waiver Trade Deadline this past week about only acquiring players that could help long-term, and avoiding "rental" players that would cost them prospects. They couldn't find the right deal before the deadline, but did Friday, when they brought Suzuki to D.C. The A's '04 2nd Round pick is in the Nationals' lineup tonight, catching Jordan Zimmermann and batting seventh as the Nats take on the Miami Marlins.
FWIW: Suzuki's 11 for 26 with two doubles and a HR off Mark Buehrle in his career.
— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) August 4, 2012
#Nationals lineup vs. MIA - Espinosa 6, Harper 9, Zimmerman 5, Morse 7, LaRoche 3, Werth 8, Suzuki 2, Lombardozzi 4, Zimmermann 1
The Nationals, via Twitter (@NationalsPR) made the move official after the announced tonight's lineup:
The Nationals have optioned C Sandy Leon to Triple-A Syracuse. Roster now at 25 with addition of C Kurt Suzuki.— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) August 4, 2012