Suzuki's time simply expired in Oakland

Suzuki's time simply expired in Oakland
August 3, 2012, 7:05 pm
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Kurt Suzuki came to Oakland and became one of the games brightest young catchers, a combination of pitcher-handling and above-average offense that seemed to set the As up for years.

But catching is a crueler business than most, where the dropoff from above-average to expendable is often swift, which helps explain Suzukis trade to Washington for AA catching prospect David Freitas.

And not just Suzuki, but Suzuki and cash considerations, meaning that the As were highly motivated to move him.

Suzuki had one big year, 2009, where his defense and offense merged into a consensus All-Star, but his offense started dropping after that, and suddenly at 28 he found himself hitting a career-low .215 and having to make room for George Kottaras and Derek Norris.

In short, his time just expired in Oakland, and the window for trading him for something that provided immediate help had already passed, so the As just moved him to move him.

It wasnt supposed to end this way, of course. Suzuki is at what is generally considered to be an athletes prime age, but maybe he had just become Oakland-ed out, and needs new surroundings. In Washington, where the loss of Wilson Ramos to knee surgery made Suzukis regular presence a necessity.

But the price Washington paid seems oddly low. Freitas, who was hitting decently at the Nationals A team, has a reputation for being good defensively though with so-so arm, and a potentially interesting hitter. He was listed as Washingtons 13th best prospect, for what that may be worth.

But Suzuki was the last mainstay of the tough years in Oakland. He was there for the last playoff appearance, but ground through the five years of minimal relevance that followed, and seemed to have simply hit the wall this year. Perhaps the National League playoff race will provide happier circumstances for a catcher who seemingly had nothing but smooth pavement ahead of him as recently as three years ago.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for

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