The Washington Nationals today acquired catcher Kurt Suzuki from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for minor-league catcher David Freitas. Nationals Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.
Suzuki is a .254 (643-for-2530) career hitter with 134 doubles, 57 home runs, 302 RBI and a .689 OPS in 703 games spanning six seasons (2007-present) with Oakland.
Defensively, Suzuki leads all qualified American League catchers in fielding percentage (.996), caught stealings (23) and caught-stealing percentage (38.3%).
Suzuki has posted a double-digit home run total each of the last three seasons (15 in 2009, 13 in ’10, 14 in ‘11). During the same three-year span, Suzuki’s 121 extra-base hits as a catcher ranked third among all big league backstops behind only Brian McCann (139) and Miguel Montero (128). He also twice (88 in 2009, 71 in ‘10) led the A’s in RBI during his tenure in Oakland.
Since becoming a regular in 2008, Suzuki’s AL-best 588 starts trail only Yadier Molina (598) among big league catchers.
Twice in the last three seasons, Suzuki has finished second in American League Gold Glove voting among catchers.
A native of Wailuku, HI, Suzuki was drafted by Oakland in the second round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft out of Cal State Fullerton. In his final season with the Titans, Suzuki won the Johnny Bench Award, which is given annually to the nation’s top collegiate catcher.
Freitas, 23, was the Nationals 15th-round selection in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. He was hitting .271 with Potomac of the Single-A Carolina League at the time of the trade.