LA Angels 2021 spring training guide: assessing the catcher competition

Max Stassi, Los Angeles Angels (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Max Stassi, Los Angeles Angels (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Angels
Kurt Suzuki (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

When the offseason began, there were talks of general manager Perry Minasian looking to improve at the catcher position. Rumors about a Wilson Contreras trade floated around, but those died when the Angels got their guy: Kurt Suzuki.

The Suzuki addition isn’t nearly as flashy nor as costly as bringing in a superstar like JT Realmuto. Whether or not signing Suzuki is more or less effective than trading for Contreras or committing to Realmuto remains to be seen. The one-year, $1.5 million deal for Suzuki fits the theme of low-risk, cost-effective rental players we have seen throughout the Halos offseason.

I don’t think it’s the worse thing the Angels could have done. I was a fan of the move at the time, but I thought owner Arte Moreno and Minasian should have done more to compliment this addition.

Kurt Suzuki could begin the season as the Angels starting catcher, but he will need to be platooned at some point.

Regardless, the 37-year old will bring championship experience and veteran leadership to the Angels clubhouse. That could go along way with the pitching staff and the development of Stassi. Suzuki has proven can still handle the bat as he enters his 15th MLB season.

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Kurt Suzuki Last 5 Seasons:

  • 2016: (106 games) .258/.301/.403 8 HR 49 RBI
  • 2017: (81 games) .283/.351/.536 19 HR 50 RBI
  • 2018: (105 games) .271/.332/.444 12 HR 50 RBI
  • 2019: (85 games) .264/.324/.486 17 HR 63 RBI
  • 2020: (33 games) .270/.349/.496 2 HR 17 RBI

I don’t expect Suzuki to be the team’s everyday catcher at this point in his career. From a health and productivity standpoint, it’s asking too much.

Until Stassi is ready to return, Suzuki will get the majority of his starts behind the plate to begin the season. Maddon will need another catcher to take the load off of Suzuki at some point.

There is also a question as to whether or not Stassi can repeat his productivity from a season ago.