The Angels reportedly made their first move post-lockout on Saturday afternoon, as according to Robert Murray of Fansided.com, they brought back catcher Kurt Suzuki to a one-year deal worth $1.75 million.
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
The 38-year-old Suzuki seemed headed for retirement after the end of the 2021 season, but now it looks like he will be back with the Halos for a second straight year. He figures to reclaim the backup catcher role behind incumbent starter Max Stassi that he previously occupied, as well as potentially serving as Shohei Ohtani’s personal catcher once again.
Last year wasn’t the most productive of Suzuki’s 15 major-league campaigns by any measure, as his typically reliable production at the plate took a pretty significant step backwards. He slashed .224/.292/.342 with six home runs and 16 RBI in 72 games at the dish, good for a wRC+ of 76, and his defense behind the plate graded out as below average by most metrics. The club did not have a clear replacement for Suzuki’s role, though (Matt Thaiss was penciled into that spot before, but he is still getting re-acclimated with the position after many years away), so amid a weak free agent catcher market, they opted for a sense of familiarity by bringing the veteran back.