Instead of enduring the long free-agency wait he experienced two years ago, Kurt Suzuki jumped at the opportunity to re-acquaint himself with the Nationals.
Suzuki and the Nationals have agreed to a two-year deal worth $10 million, sources told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand. The deal is pending the results of a physical. An official announcement could be made as soon as Tuesday. The Nats have not confirmed the agreement.
Nationals fans are very familiar with Suzuki, who served as Washington's catcher for parts of 2012 and '13. While spending the past two seasons with the division-rival Braves, the 35-year-old catcher posted a .917 OPS over 86 plate appearances against the Nats.
Regarded as one of baseball's friendliest and most likeable players, Suzuki has the potential to have a positive influence on Spencer Kieboom and Pedro Severino, who are the Nats' only other internal catching options.
With Matt Wieters now a free agent and Suzuki past the point where he should be considered a primary option for a contending team, the Nationals will likely continue to peruse the trade and free-agent markets for a veteran to be their primary catcher.
When Suzuki signed a one-year deal with the Braves on Jan. 21, 2017, he was thrilled to end what was a longer-than-expected wait on the free-agent market. His two-season stint with Atlanta introduced him to hitting coach Kevin Seitzer, who helped him produce an unexpected power surge.
Suzuki notched a .825 OPS and 31 home runs over two seasons with the Braves. Before hitting 19 homers in 2017 and 12 in '18, he had not produced a double-digit homer total since '11.
While Suzuki's bat still has some value, his arm and framing metrics ranked among the game's worst this past season. Per Statcast™, Suzuki's 2.08 pop time to second base ranked third-worst among qualified catchers (min. 25 throws). Per Baseball Prospectus, Suzuki was 10th-worst of 117 qualified catchers in framing runs.