With just a matter of weeks left to go before the start of spring training at the club's facility located in Disney, Florida, the Atlanta Braves are keeping busy as they have went out onto the market, this time, adding catching depth to the roster. That all to be said, the club has now brought aboard veteran backstop Kurt Suzuki on a one-year, major league deal worth a base salary of $1.5 million, according to a report from Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.
At this time, the organization is yet to confirm the transaction, though an agreement does seem to be in place in its entirety. Chris Cotillo of SB Nation was first to report the deal which was later confirmed by Rosenthal as well as Jerry Crasick of ESPN.com.
As noted by Rosenthal, Suzuki has the opportunity to earn a total of $2.5 million with incentives attached to his contract. As for the way things stand at this particular moment, it is likely that the 33-year-old will start the 2017 as backup to Tyler Flowers, with Anthony Recker and Tuffy Gosewisch starting the year in Triple-A Gwinnett.
Earlier this offseason, the Braves front office was keeping tabs on Georgia native Matt Wieters, who is now a free agent, however, the two sides never got very far in terms on negotiations, which led the club in a different direction. However, that does not take away from the experience Suzuki brings to Atlanta as he looks forward to his eleventh year on the big-league stage.
Suzuki was originally drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the second round of the 2004 amateur draft, and later signed in July of that season. He made his debut in June of 2007 and has not looked back ever since. Taking a look now at his statistics for the 2016 season, Suzuki was a member of the Minnesota Twins, where he has been since 2014, where he hit with a slash line of .258/.301/.403, to go alongside eight home runs and 49 runs batted in, in a total of 106 games played. Over this span, he made 373 plate appearances.
Given the new addition's to the team's rotation as they give it a different look heading into Sun Trust Park for the first time on April 14, Suzuki will likely handle the duties of catching knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, and may also end up working with Bartolo Colon as well.
As noted by Dave O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the deal will become official after Suzuki has passed his physical which will likely take place on Monday, followed by an introductory press conference which will take place at the team's current home, Turner Field.