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Souhan blog: What Suzuki deal means

  • Blog Post by: Jim Souhan
  • July 31, 2014 - 7:05 PM

The Twins’ signing of Kurt Suzuki is fine, and logical, but it invokes Rule No. 1 of sports coverage:

Place far more emphasis on what a team does than what it says.

The signing of Suzuki to a two-year deal that could turn into a three-year deal makes sense because he is the right kind of player to work with the Twins’ young pitchers, and he is, I am told, an ideal teammate and lockerroom presence.

But what the Suzuki signing really means is that Josmil Pinto isn’t a work in progress as a catcher. It means he’s just a bad catcher.

If the Twins thought they could have Pinto straightened out by next spring, they wouldn’t have paid Suzuki $6 million a year. They are paying Suzuki to be their starting catcher, because they know they don’t have another one close to being ready.

I would have preferred the Twins trade Suzuki for a good young player, but my understanding is that they didn’t have that option. Failing the ability to trade Suzuki for value, signing him to an extension was logical. The one thing the Twins couldn’t afford to do was let Suzuki leave, for nothing in return, as a free agent at the end of the season.

Six million a year used to be real money. Remember, when Kirby Puckett signed a five-year, $30-million deal before the 1993 season, that was briefly the largest contract in baseball history. When Chuck Knoblauch was approaching free agency as potential Hall of Fame second baseman (you can look it up), the Twins gave him that same contract.

Now $6 million a year is what you pay a pretty good veteran catcher because you have no other options.

We’re doing Sunday Sports Talk (1500ESPN-AM) from the 3M Championship on Sunday, 10-noon in one of the big tents. Stop by and heckle Korzo.

I’m covering the Lynx-Phoenix showdown tonight at Target Center, and will be on 1500ESPN at 12:15 on Friday with Mackey & Judd, aka Homer & Panic.

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