“I feel it’s timeSuzuki Fletcher said. “You did a great job, winning the world championship, the all-star game. Played 16 seasons. I’ve accomplished a lot of things I wouldn’t have dreamed of. I felt it was time for the next chapter. My three kids, all they knew was baseball. “
Suzuki began his professional career in 2004. Three years after being selected in the second round by Cal State Fullerton, he arrived in Oakland. Suzuki debuted in June 2007 and cemented himself as the primary catcher of the A from that point forward. The right-handed hitter topped 130 games each year between 2008-11, generally doing just below average overall but better than average for catches. Suzuki’s high-contact approach made him a powerful offensive mainstay for much of his time in Auckland, and the A distributed him to the Nationals in the summer of 2012.
After completing that season in Washington, Suzuki ended up again in Oakland via trade on August 13. He qualified for free agency for the first time that year, where he signed with the twins. Suzuki bounced back from a few offensive years to hit .288/.345/.383 and earn an All-Star nod that year, and Minnesota signed him for two years that summer. His production declined over the last two seasons in Minnesota, but he rebounded with one of the best years of his career after signing with Atlanta in 2017. He made the 19 best home runs of his career hitting .283/.351/.536 through 81 games, earning the Mid-season extension for a second season with the Braves.
Suzuki did not repeat his 2017 production, but posted another above-average offensive season to conclude his time in Atlanta. After hitting .271/.322/.444 with 12 long balls, he landed another multi-year deal at free agency. As the 2019 campaign approaches, the Citizens have signed Suzuki into a two-year, $10 million deal to pair Ian Gomez behind the plate. That contract paid off in the first year, as the veteran hit 17 other players with a .264/.324/.486 streak in 85 regular season games. Suzuki had his biggest clincher during the Nats title he ran for the world title that year. This included Homer’s green light Justin Verlander In the seventh game of Game Two of the World Series, the biggest play in a win gave Washington the 2-0 lead.
After another strong showing with Washington during the short 2020 campaign, Suzuki played the last two seasons in back-to-back one-year agreements with the Angels. He had a few years to finish his career, primarily working as a backup in Orange County.
Suzuki’s career totals won’t be finished until the season is over, but he’s not likely to change his ledger much over the last two weeks. As he noted, Suzuki played in 16 consecutive seasons in the league and crossed 1,600 games. He owns a .255/.314/.388 streak with 143 home runs, 729 passes in and 594 points. Suzuki made the All-Star Game and played a key role in the World Championship Team. Baseball reference estimates his career at about 20 wins over substitution. FanGraphs, which considers the Suzuki’s below-average pitch frame metrics, ties him around nine wins.
Aside from this discrepancy in value, there is no doubting how impressive a major league career that has lasted over a decade and a half has been. Possibly continuing his baseball career in some capacity, Suzuki has indicated he would be happy to discuss the possibility of taking on a non-playing role with Halos General Manager Berry Minassian (who he also knows from their overlapping assignments in Atlanta). MLBTR congratulates Suzuki on his long career and wishes him all the best in his endeavours beyond 2022.
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.