Since the lockout was lifted on the evening of March 10, the Los Angeles Angels have remained relatively quiet. Meanwhile, 2021 backup catcher Kurt Suzuki spent his offseason mulling retirement entering what would be his age-38 season.
2021 was a rough year for Suzuki behind the plate. As a hitter, he managed just a .224 bating average and .636 OPS while striking out 44 times on the year. As a catcher, he struggled mightily, garnering a minus-12 defensive runs saved. Suzuki also was the eighth-worst catcher in baseball by pitch framing metrics.
Even still, with Suzuki looking to return to the game and the Angels needing a backup catcher, the two reportedly agreed to terms on a one-year contract, according to Robert Murray of FanSided:
Free-agent catcher Kurt Suzuki and the Los Angeles Angels are in agreement on a one-year, $1.75 million contract, pending physical, according to sources familiar with the situation.
— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) March 12, 2022
Because of injuries to Max Stassi in 2021, Suzuki found his way on the field in 72 games. Hopefully, in 2022, Stassi can stay healthy enough for that amount to decrease significantly.
While Suzuki can still bring value as a clubhouse leader and veteran, his on-field impact is nowhere near what it once was, and the Angels cannot afford to have that type of production from the catcher position in almost 50% of games.
The Angels have perhaps a top-10 catcher in baseball in Stassi, meaning the more he plays, the more successful the Halos will be. but at $1.75 million, Suzuki won’t hurt Arte Moreno’s pockets in any significant way, allowing the Angels to still make moves as they see fit.
Trout, Rendon ready for Spring Training
After significant injuries ended both Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon’s seasons, their statuses for 2022 have remained up in the air for much of the lockout.
However, when Spring Training begins on March 18, the belief is that both Trout and Rendon will be 100% healthy and ready to go.