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Tag:Kurt Suzuki
Posted on: December 20, 2011 10:56 am
Edited on: December 20, 2011 2:18 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Oakland Athletics



By Matt Snyder

What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

"Moneyball" hit movie theaters everywhere late this past summer and Brad Pitt-as-Billy Beane told us the A's have to be creative to compete in an unfair baseball landscape. There are haves and have-nots, the protagonist would tell us. And we all know the Oakland Athletics are have-nots in the salary-capless land of Major League Baseball. So what if the A's could afford to keep all their own guys? Surely they'd be much better, right? Uh ...

Lineup

1. Jemile Weeks, 2B
2. Nick Swisher, CF
3. Andre Ethier, RF
4. Jason Giambi, 1B
5. Ryan Ludwick, LF
6. Kurt Suzuki, C
7. Ramon Hernandez, DH
8. Mark Teahen, 3B
9. Cliff Pennington, SS

Starting Rotation

1. Tim Hudson
2. Trevor Cahill
3. Dallas Braden
4. Tyson Ross
5. Joe Blanton

Yes, Braden was out for the season in real life, but we've got Rich Harden waiting in the wings. Oh, and yes, Harden is hurt all the time. So then we'd turn to Barry Zito.

Bullpen

Closer - Andrew Bailey
Set up - Huston Street, Santiago Casilla, Henry Rodriguez, Joel Peralta, Sam Demel
Long - Harden, Zito

Notable Bench Players

Miguel Olivo, John Baker, Gerald Laird -- yes, those three are all catchers, just like our DH -- Eric Chavez and Travis Buck.

What's Good?

Hey, at least we'd never run out of catchers with this group. There are four major-league caliber starters, even if some are lower-tier, and one quality backup in Laird. So the Athletics churn out catchers. Really, though, the strength of this team is unsurprisingly the pitching. The starting rotation is good, but not great. Hudson is steady and Cahill was very good in 2010. Blanton was good in 2009 but has battled injuries and ineffectiveness since then. Ross did show great promise before his injury last season, though. The bullpen is pretty good, too. Bailey is a solid closer and Street would be a fine eighth-inning man with Casilla and fireballer Rodriguez also setting the table.

What's Not?

Giambi and Ludwick in the middle of the order isn't near as potent nowadays as it would have been a handful of years ago. Plus, could Giambi even play everyday anymore? If not, our next option is playing a catcher, Chavez or Buck at first base. That's weak. In fact, at this point in time, there aren't many spots where the hitter is well above average for his slot. Swisher and Ethier are good, but they aren't elite second or third hitters. Weeks could prove an elite leadoff hitter as soon as 2012, but we don't have a large enough sample yet to declare that. Ramon Hernandez had a good past two offensive seasons, but take him out of the NL Central and Great American Ball Park and put him in the AL West in Oakland. That's a big difference. So while the offense isn't atrocious, it's not very good either -- and there is no bench depth anywhere but catcher. Also, Swisher's out of position in center, but, again, we don't have any other options.

Comparison to real 2011

While the rotation and bullpen are good, they are far from great, and the position players here just aren't enough. This team would be below average, an 85-90 loss ballclub. The real-life A's went 74-88, so I'd say it's just about the same result.

And we can now see the biggest problem. Of course it's tough to compete as a small-market team in a football stadium, but the A's haven't been drafting very well. They've made some good trades, sure, but also some pretty bad ones. For example, they spun Carlos Gonzalez, Huston Street and Greg Smith for Matt Holliday back in 2008, but then dealt Holliday at the next trade deadline for Brett Wallace, Clayton Mortensen and Shane Peterson. So, yes, one reason the A's can't compete anymore in the AL West is because they don't have the money to retain or sign new expensive veterans. But another reason is they just aren't churning out draft picks like the Rays, for example, are. 

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Posted on: November 4, 2011 2:35 pm
 

Athletics could be ready to strip down team

Gonzalez

By Evan Brunell


Depending on what happens with the Athletics' attempted relocation to San Jose, the club could enter a rebuilding phase.

As has been reported for some time now, Oakland would strip the team and enter into a rebuilding process over the next three seasons should commissioner Bud Selig rule that the A's can move to San Jose. The issue has been on Selig's desk since March 2009 and is complicated by the Giants claiming territorial rights over San Jose. The hope is that Selig will have a ruling shortly for the A's, and it could impact the team's offseason moves.

If Selig approves the move to San Jose, any new stadium would require at least three years to be built. Oakland and GM Billy Beane would enter into a rebuilding period in the hopes of having a contender ready to go once the stadium opens. That could mean trading players such as Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill and Kurt Suzuki. The only person that would be unavailable in a rebuilding, Fox Sports reports, is second baseman Jemile Weeks, who debuted this season.

If there is no news, the club likely will move to younger players regardless. As opposed to last season when Beane went hard after Adrian Beltre, Lance Berkman and Japanese import Hisashi Iwakuma, and losing out on each, poor revenues could force the A's into yet another rebuilding process. Things could change, though, if Selig rules against San Jose. Faced with a long-term arrangement in Oakland, Beane could be aggressive just like last season to build a contender with the core already in place.

Should the A's rebuild, there will be no shortage of suitors, especially with a poor free agent class. Gonzalez (pictured), in particular, has been linked to the Yankees before and could be dealt to New York for top prospect Jesus Montero, which would give the A's a long-coveted elite bat they can control for some time.

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Posted on: August 18, 2011 1:05 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Carmona steps up for Tribe



By Matt Snyder


Fausto Carmona, Indians. The offense deserves some credit for the four runs, too, because it was the first time White Sox starter Mark Buehrle allowed more than three earned runs in a game since April 22. But make no mistake about it, the burden was on Carmona here. The Indians had fallen to three games back of the Tigers and just a half-game in front of the White Sox. Also, the Indians were coming off a 14-inning loss where the starter only lasted 4 2/3 innings. The bullpen was taxed. Carmona went out Wednesday night and put the team on his back. He went 8 1/3 innings and allowed just four hits and one run in the victory. At one point he retired 11 straight White Sox hitters.

Kurt Suzuki, Athletics. The catcher got it done both with the bat and the glove. He hit two home runs in the A's one-run victory over the Orioles, and also made an impressive catch and tag at home plate on the would-be tying run to end the game.

The Texas Rangers. The Angels were apparently so terrified of falling seven games out in the AL West that Mike Scioscia tried to stretch Ervin Santana to nearly 130 pitches and it bit them. The game was tied at two as the Rangers scored twice against arguably the hottest pitcher in baseball while C.J. Wilson kept things in order from his end. Then Scioscia ran Santana back out there for the eighth and the Rangers loaded the bases ... and then Ian Kinsler singled home two. The Rangers are now 20 games over .500. They finished 18 games over .500 last year and went to the World Series.



Ricky Nolasco, Marlins. Coughing up 11 hits and 11 earned runs in a start is bad enough, but Nolasco did it in just three innings, as inconsistency remains his signature move. This was the third time this season Nolasco has given up at least eight earned runs and sixth time he's allowed five or more. Yet he's allowed one or less nine times. I'd have to imagine in seeing how good Nolasco can be, it only makes the awful outings that much more frustrating for the Marlins and their fans.

Jair Jurrjens, Braves. In his four starts between the All-Star break and the disabled list, Jurrjens had a 6.26 ERA and 1.52 WHIP. He returned to face an anemic Giants offense Wednesday night only to give up eight hits, two walks and five earned runs in his six innings of work. He only struck out one. The Braves probably don't need first-half Jurrjens to make the playoffs, but he'd sure help the chances at a World Series.

Jose Valverde/Wilson Betemit, Tigers. The Tigers went to their closer with a 4-4 tie in the top of the ninth Wednesday against the Twins and came out trailing by two. Both runs were unearned, but Valverde himself committed one of the errors, in addition to giving up the big two-run single to Justin Morneau. The Tigers' lead is now back to two over the Indians.

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Posted on: August 2, 2011 11:45 pm
 

Mariners' Ryan gets to third on infield single

Brendan Ryan

By C. Trent Rosecrans

You want to see the best hustle play you may see all year?

Witness Brendan Ryan in the first inning of Tuesday's game against Oakland. WIth one out, Ryan hit the ball to shortstop Eric Sogard, but beat it out for an infield single. First baseman Connor Jackson caught Sogard's wide throw, and held onto the ball. Ryan noticed nobody was covering second and took off to take the extra bag. Once he slid into second, he noticed nobody was on third and took that base, as well. Kurt Suzuki stayed at home or else he could have scored on an infield single. 

Dustin Ackley followed with a walk and then Mike Carp doubled in both runners to give Seattle a 2-0 lead.

Watch the play here.

That's the kind of thing you just have to love seeing, especially in a game featuring two teams a combined 25 1/2 games out of first place. Bravo, Brendan Ryan, bravo.

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Posted on: July 11, 2011 12:44 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 9:10 pm
 

Rangers murderer's row paces AL West All-Stars

By C. Trent Rosecrans

2011 All-Star Game
SEE THE OTHER DIVISION ALL-STARS: AL East | AL Central | NL East | NL Central | NL West

The American League West may be able to put together the best rotation in baseball, but putting together a lineup from players just from the division is a little tougher. Of the four teams in the division, only the Rangers are better than league average in runs (455), on-base percentage (.332), OPS (.788) and home runs (111). That makes it no surprise that our lineup for the American League West All-Star team has a heavy Ranger lean, as five of the nine position players are from Texas, including the heart of the order from No. 3 to No. 7 in the lineup.

Kurt SuzukiC Kurt Suzuki, Athletics: There are some serious slim pickings in this category, with the only real choice coming between the A's Suzuki and Seattle's Miguel Olivo. Neither was considered a snub when the All-Star team was announced, and for good reason. Suzuki is hitting .224/.291/.342, while Olivo is hitting .223/.265/.392. Olivo does have 12 home runs and 40 RBI, but I just could justify putting someone with a .265 on-base percentage on any time of All-Star team. Suzuki also brings top-flight defense, so he gets the nod.

Mitch Moreland1B Mitch Moreland, Rangers: This is an intriguing group of young first basemen. The preseason pick would have been Daric Barton, but he's now in the minor leagues. The Angels' Mark Trumbo (.259/.303/.474) and Mariners' Justin Smoak (.232/.330/.423)are starting to put up some good numbers, but the pick here is Moreland (.279/.341/.458), whose average numbers are better, even if his counting stats aren't up to the other two. The difference is small enough to go with the Moreland.

Lineup
No. Name Team Pos
1 Howard Kendrick ANA 2B
2 Peter Bourjos ANA CF
3 Josh Hamilton TEX LF
4 Michael Young TEX DH
5 Adrian Beltre TEX 3B
6 Nelson Cruz TEX RF
7 Mitch Moreland TEX 1B
8 Kurt Suzuki OAK C
9 Elvis Andrus TEX SS

Howie Kendrick2B Howard Kendrick, Angels: Finally, a real-live All-Star. The 27-year-old Kendrick is making his first All-Star appearance, hitting .305/.361/.466 with eight home runs and 29 RBI. A very good defensive second baseman, he also adds value by being able to play all over the diamond. He's started games at second base, left field and first base this season and has also started one game in his career at third base.

Adrian Beltre3B Adrian Beltre, Rangers: You can argue he's not worth the five-year, $80 million contract given to him by the Rangers, but it's tough to argue that he's not the best third baseman in the division. Hitting .272/.314/.492 with 18 home runs and 69 RBI, plus exceptional defense, the choice here is clear.

Elvis AndrusSS Elvis Andrus, Rangers: You're not going to confuse Andrus with Cal Ripken Jr. or Alex Rodriguez anytime soon, but the smooth-fielding shortstop is getting on base at a .332 clip and also has 26 stolen bases. Erick Aybar is equal with Andrus in batting average (.283) and better slugging (.431), but lower on-base percentage (.316). I'll take Andrus' glove, as well, so he gets the call.

Josh HamiltonLF Josh Hamilton, Rangers: Hamilton missed 36 games after suffering a broken bone in his shoulder in April, but he's still accumulated 11 home runs to go along with 49 RBI and a line of .305/.359/.549. While Hamilton's played all over the outfield, he's started the most games in left, and that's probably the best spot for him. And he's certainly the best choice in the division.

Peter BourjosCF Peter Bourjos, Angels: Although he's currently hobbled by tightness in his right hamstring, Bourjos is the class of AL West center fielders, hitting .272/.323/.397. He also covers a ton of ground, which helps in this division that features some spacious ballparks. 

Nelson CruzRF Nelson Cruz, Rangers: Like Hamilton, the Rangers right fielder has missed a good chunk of games with a trip to the disabled list in May, but he's still hit 20 home runs and knocked in 55. His .293 on-base percentage is lower than you'd like to see, but his slugging (.520) makes up for it. He beats out Torii Hunter who has a slightly better on-base percentage, much better defense, but pales in comparison in slugging.

Michael YoungDH Michael Young, Rangers: The Rangers sure are glad they didn't heed Young's trade request this offseason. Filling in at various spots in the field for injured Rangers, he's also taken to the designated hitter spot without a hiccup. Young is hitting .326/.360/.486 with eight home runs and 59 RBI. He's also played 25 games at first base, 11 at second base and four at third, while the bulk of his playing time has come as a DH.

Jered WeaverSP Jered Weaver, Angels: Starting pitching is probably the deepest category in this division -- and looking at the starting pitching across the AL West may help explain the tough time finding offensive standouts (or it could be vice-versa, though I'll stick with the pitching in this division). Weaver gets the nod with a record of  11-4 and a 1.86 ERA. He's struck out 120 in 140 1/3 innings and walked just 31. Weaver lost his arbitration case with the Angels this year, he'll have a pretty good case this offseason, going into his last arbitration year. Apologies to Dan Haren (10-5, 2.61), Felix Hernandez (8-7, 3.19), C.J. Wilson (9-3, 3.20), Michael Pineda (8-6, 3.03) and Gio Gonzalez (8-6, 2.47).

Scott DownsMR Scott Downs, Angels: The 35-year-old Downs has been around so long that he's a former Expo, but he's maybe having his best season yet. Signed by the Angels this offseason, he's produced for his new team, going 5-2 with a 1.52 ERA, striking out 20 in 29 2/3 innings. He gets the nod over A's side-armer Brad Ziegler (2-1, 1.78).

Jordan WaldenCL Jordan Walden, Angels: The All-Star picked up his 20th save of the season on Sunday, closing out the Angels' victory over the Mariners by striking out the only batter he faced. His ERA is down to 2.84 and has 40 strikeouts in 37 innings, while walking 17. Brandon League is also an All-Star and his 23 saves lead the American League. His lower strikeouts and higher ERA are the reason Walden gets the nod, even though the Angel has two more blown saves than League.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.



Posted on: June 29, 2011 4:27 pm
Edited on: June 29, 2011 4:41 pm
 

Twins win another 1-0 game

Ben Revere

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Twins just won another 1-0 game, their seventh overall 1-0 game and fifth victory in a 1-0 contest. Five of the seven games came at Target Field and the only two losses were on unearned runs.

Here's all of their 1-0 games this season:

June 29: Twins 1, Dodgers 0: Scott Baker went 7 1/3, allowing six hits and a walk, striking out 9. Rubby De La Rosa allowed just one run on six hits in seven innings for the Dodgers to get the hard-luck loss. The only run came in the first after Ben Revere led off the game for the Twins with a triple and Tsuyoshi Nishioka knocked in the game's only run with a dribbler down the first-base line.

June 18: Twins 1, Padres 0: Another great start by Baker, who allowed just four hits and a walk in eight innings, striking out 10. Padres starter Tim Stauffer went seven innings allowing six hits, one of them a Danny Valencia homer in the seventh inning.

June 16: Twins 1, White Sox 0: Right fielder Michael Cuddyer homered off of Mark Buehrle in the second for the only run of the game and one of three hits Buehrle surrendered in seven innings. Nick Blackburn gave up seven hits (all singles) in eight innings, walking one.

June 7: Indians 1, Twins 0: In Cleveland, Indians starter Carlos Carrasco held the Twins to just three hits in 8 1/3 innings, while Chris Perez came in for the final two outs. Minnesota starter Francisco Liriano went 5 innings, giving up three hits and an unearned run. Cleveland scored in the fourth when left fielder Delmon Young's throw allowed Carlos Santana to advance to third on his leadoff double, followed by an RBI groundout by Shelley Duncan.

May 28: Twins 1, Angels 0: Anthony Swarzak took a no-hitter into the eighth inning and Valencia's RBI single in the 10th gave Minnesota the victory. The Angels' Jered Weaver allowed just two hits in 9 innings, but Hisanori Takahashi gave up a single in the 10th inning and Jason Repko came in, Takahashi allowing three straight singles to decide the game.

May 3: Twins 1, White Sox 0: Liriano no-hit the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field and Jason Kubel homered in the seventh for the lone run. Edwin Jackson gave up six hits in eight innings for the White Sox.

April 9: A's 1, Twins 0: With two outs in the sixth, Blackburn gave up a single to Kurt Suzuki who moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on a throwing error by shortstop Alexi Casilla for the game's only run. Minnesota used five relievers, while Gio Gonzalez allowed four hits in six innings for Oakland.

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Posted on: June 7, 2011 10:31 am
Edited on: June 7, 2011 11:25 am
 

Looking back at second-round picks

Joey Votto

By C. Trent Rosecrans


While the first-round of the MLB Draft is gaining more attention in the last couple of years, the later rounds are where most of the work is done. 

The second round starts today at 11 a.m. ET, so here's a look at some of the best second-round picks in recent memory.

Angels: In 1999, the Angels took John Lackey out of Grayson County Community College with the 68th overall pick in the draft. In 1995, they took Jarrod Washburn with the first pick of the second round.

Astros: Perhaps the team's best player right now, outfielder Hunter Pence, was the 64th overall pick in 2004. 

MLB Draft

Athletics: The A's took Vista, Calif., high schooler Trevor Cahill with the 66th overall pick in 2006. Two years before that they took Kurt Suzuki in the second round and in 2003 they took Andre Ethier in the second round. They traded him for Milton Bradley and Antonio Perez in 2005.

Blue Jays: Right-hander Dave Bush in 2002 is probably the team's best second-round pick since taking Derek Bell in 1987.

Brian McCannBraves: Current first baseman Freddie Freeman was selected with the 78th overall pick in 2007, but the best pick was easily 2002's No. 64 overall pick, a local high school catcher named Brian McCann.

Brewers: The Brewers took Yovani Gallardo with the fifth pick of the second round in 2004.

Cardinals: In 2001, the team took Dan Haren with the 72nd overall pick. More recently, Jon Jay was taken in the second round of the 2006 draft.

Cubs: You have to go back pretty far -- unless you go with Bobby Hill -- to find much success with the Cubs' second-round pick, but if you go as far back as 1984, they took Greg Maddux with the third pick of the second round and he turned out OK. Also among their second-round picks is former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Quincy Carter (1996).

Diamondbacks: A's starter Brett Anderson was Arizona's second-rounder in 2006. He was part of the big trade that send Dan Haren to the Diamondbacks.

Dodgers: The Dodgers got future closer Jonathan Broxton with the 60th overall pick in 2002.

Giants: Of recent vintage, the Giants have taken Nate Schierholtz in 2003 and Fred Lewis in 2002, but the most interesting second-round pick by San Francisco was in 1982. That year they took the son of a team legend with the 11th pick of the second round (39th overall), but Barry Bonds went to Arizona State instead.

Indians: Jason Kipnis is one of the team's top prospects, taken in the second round in 2009. In 1995, the Indians took first baseman Sean Casey out of Richmond with the 53rd overall pick.

Mariners: Recently-demoted Orioles starter Chris Tillman was taken in the second round of the 2006 draft. Keep an eye on 2009 second-rounder Rich Poythress, who had 31 homers in Class A last season.

Mike StantonMarlins: It wasn't until the 12th pick of the second round -- and 76th overall -- for someone to pick up Mike Stanton in 2007. 

Mets: There's some slim pickins for the Mets recently, but few Mets fans would trade their second-rounder of 1977, Mookie Wilson. (Seriously, this one was tough, the only players the Mets have picked in the last 15 years who have made the majors were Kevin Mulvey, Neal Musser, Pat Strange and Tyler Walker -- maybe that explains some things.)

Nationals (Expos): Jordan Zimmermann was the team's second-rounder in 2007. Current Reds All-Star second baseman Brandon Phillips was taken by the Expos with the sixth pick of the second round in 1999.

Orioles: Nolan Reimold was taken 61st overall in 2005, but if you want to go back a few years, the team took Cal Ripken with the 22nd pick of the second round in the 1978 draft. Ripken was the third of four picks the Orioles had in the second round that year.

Padres: San Diego took Chase Hedley in 2005.

Phillies: Jimmy Rollins was the team's second-rounder in 1996, going 46th overall.

Pirates: Last year's pick was Stetson Allie, who many expected to go in the first round. Lefty Tom Gorzelanny was taken in the second round in 2003 and catcher Ryan Doumit was taken 59th overall in 1999.

Rangers: The only player taken by the Rangers in the second round of the last decade to make the majors is Jason Bourgeois.

Rays: The Rays famously took Josh Hamilton No. 1 overall in 1999, but their second-round pick that year was pretty good too -- Carl Crawford.

Red Sox: How about Justin Masterson (2006), Dustin Pedroia (2004) and Jon Lester (2002)?

Reds: NL MVP Joey Votto (2002) was the third pick of the second round (44th overall) and Travis Wood was taken in the second round of the 2005 draft. Keep an eye on 2009 pick Billy Hamilton, who already has 45 stolen bases this season for Class A Dayton.

Rockies: For recent vintage, Seth Smith (2004) is the pick, but you can go back a few years and pick Aaron Cook (1997).

George BrettRoyals: For all the prospects the Royals have stockpiled in the last couple of years, strangely not too many are second-rounders. Outfielder Brett Eibner (2010) was the only member of the Royals' Top 10 by Baseball America taken in the second round. You have to go back to Carlos Beltran (1995), Jon Lieber (1992), Bob Hamelin (1988), Mark Gubicza (1981), Darryl Motley (1978) and Dennis Leonard (1972) to find serious big-leaguers. Oh, and also a kid out of El Segundo, Calif., in 1971 named George Brett. He was pretty good, too.

Tigers: The Tigers took Brandon Inge with the 14th pick of the 1998 draft as a catcher out of Virginia Commonwealth. In 1976, Alan Trammell was the second pick of the round.

Twins: A nice run of arms earlier in the decade with Kevin Slowey (2005), Anthony Swarzak (2004), Scott Baker (2003) and Jesse Crain (2002). Frank Viola was the team's second-rounder in 1981.

White Sox: A's outfielder Ryan Sweeney (2003) is the team's best second-rounder since Bob Wickman (1990) -- not counting Jeff Weaver, who went back to school after he was picked in 1997 and was taken by the Tigers a year later.

Yankees: In the last 20 years, only two Yankees second-rounders have made the big leagues, Shelley Duncan (2001) and Randy Keisler (1998). Catching prospect Austin Romine was the team's second-rounder in 2007. In 1982, the team did take a shortstop from McAdory High School in Bessemer, Ala., who went on to play football at Auburn instead. His name is Bo Jackson. That was the year after the team took Stanford outfielder John Elway.

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Posted on: May 31, 2011 10:32 pm
Edited on: June 1, 2011 6:02 am
 

A's GM tells Suzuki to avoid contact

Kurt SuzukiBy C. Trent Rosecrans

A's general manager Billy Beane doesn't want another Bay Area catcher out for the season because of a collision at the plate. Beane told ESPN.com's Buster Olney that he's told A's catcher Kurt Suzuki not to block the plate on a play similar to the one that knocked San Francisco's Buster Posey out for the season.

"I said to him, 'I don't want you planting yourself in front of the plate waiting to get creamed. You're an athletic catcher -- be athletic. I don't subscribe to the theory you should be a crash-test dummy. I don't want to lose you for six months," Beane said. 

Beane added that he told his catcher he could only think of a few runs in major league history that were worth the type of risk that goes with a collision at the plate.

Olney writes several other teams have told their catchers the same thing, but have not said so publicly.

Beane's right about this -- even a single win or loss isn't worth losing a player like Posey or Suzuki. Any front-line catcher is more valuable than a single game. Last season Suzuki was nearly a 2 WAR (according to FanGraphs) player, and he was worth three wins over a replacement player in both 2009 and 2008. So far this season FanGraphs has him worth 0.9 wins above a replacement. Still, as good as WAR is as a stat, I'm not sure it is at the point where it can accurately determine the worth of a catcher defensively -- and Suzuki is one of the best in that department, so whatever his WAR is may be just the tip of the iceberg in his true worth to a team and especially a pitching staff.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com