KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Twins made a second long-term move at the trade deadline Thursday, but this one isn't part of a roster shakeup: It's for roster stability.
Minnesota has signed catcher Kurt Suzuki to a $12 million contract extension, a source with knowledge of the negotiations confirmed Thursday, choosing to keep their 30-year-old catcher rather than trade him away. Suzuki signed a one-year, $2.75 million contract during the winter, then earned an All-Star berth with one of the best offensive seasons of his career.
Suzuki is guaranteed $6 million in each of the next two seasons, and can earn a third $6 million paycheck for 2017 if he receives enough plate appearances in 2016. The Twins won't disclose the level required for vesting, but assistant general manager Rob Antony said it's "reachable if he stays healthy and productive."
Suzuki's signing is certain to be popular in the Twins' clubhouse, where the pitching staff has repeatedly complimented the job the eight-year veteran has done behind the plate. It's likely also a reflection of the Twins' increasingly unhappiness with the defensive progress of top catching prospect Josmil Pinto, who was sent to Class AAA Rochester in April to work on his deficiencies behind the plate.
Suzuki is not in the Twins' lineup tonight, getting a previously planned day off. And new first baseman Kennys Vargas isn't expected to arrive at Kauffman Stadium until game time. Here are tonight's lineups for the finale of this three-game series:
E. Escobar SS
A. Escobar SS