As the Los Angeles Angels attempted to round out their roster after the MLB lockout was lifted, one of their first moves was re-signing Kurt Suzuki to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.
The veteran served as the Angels’ backup catcher behind Max Stassi during the 2021 season, and despite his struggles at the plate, he was an important presence in the clubhouse for his leadership.
Suzuki once again took on that role this past season, but saw his playing time and production continue to diminish. In just 51 games, he hit .180/.266/.295 with four doubles, four home runs and 15 RBI over 159 plate appearances.
Suzuki announced this past September that the 2022 season would be his last as a player, and the Angels gave him a proper send-off in an October 4 matchup against the Oakland Athletics, the team he began his career with 15 years prior.
In the bottom of the first, Michael Lorenzen fired a first-pitch fastball that clipped the outer half of the plate and wound up being the final ball Suzuki would catch in MLB. Angels manager Phil Nevin took a mound visit, which allowed the 39-year-old to soak in the moment with his teammates.
Suzuki appeared in 123 games over two seasons with the Angels, hitting .207/.283/.324 with 12 doubles, 10 home runs and 31 RBI across 406 plate appearances.
Suzuki carried a .255/.314/.388 slash line in 1,635 games over 16 MLB seasons, earned one trip to the 2014 All-Star Game as a member of the Minnesota Twins and won the 2019 World Series with the Washington Nationals. He also had a stint with the Atlanta Braves from 2017-18.
Kurt Suzuki 2022 highlight
From April 8-19, Suzuki collected five hits in 19 at-bats, including one double, one home run and four RBI across five games. He also reached base three additional times via walk.
Suzuki had four multi-hit games with the Angels during the 2022 season, including his first appearance of the season against the Houston Astros on April 8.
Now retired, Suzuki will get to enjoy some much needed time off with his family. Given how respected he was by his teammates, it wouldn’t be surprising if he eventually gets into coaching.
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