Suzuki agreed to a one-year, $3.5 million contract with the Braves on Saturday, Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports. Suzuki received just $1.5 million from the Braves on a one-year deal for 2017, but he earned himself a healthy raise with a season that will see him finish with career bests in both home runs and OPS despite playing in only half of the available games. Suzuki and Tyler Flowers proved to be a quality pairing behind the plate in 2017, and they figure to share the catching duties again in some fashion next year.
Suzuki is out of the lineup Sunday against the Cubs. Suzuki has been behind the plate for the first three games of the series, but the 33-year-old will sit the series finale in favor of David Freitas. Both should see a reduction in playing time when Tyler Flowers (hand) eventually returns, though a concrete timetable has yet to be determined.
Suzuki is out of the lineup for Game 2 of Wednesday's doubleheader against Philadelphia. Suzuki will get the second contest of the twin bill off after going 0-for-4 and catching R.A. Dickey during Game 1. In his place, David Freitas makes his major-league debut, batting eighth in the order.
Suzuki will start at catcher and bat fifth in the first game of Wednesday's doubleheader with the Phillies, David O'Brien of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Braves manager Brian Snitker has been splitting the starts at catcher lately between Suzuki and Tyler Flowers, but Suzuki should be in store for an uptick in at-bats for at least the next week or so following Flowers' placement on the disabled list Wednesday with a left wrist contusion. The Braves recalled David Freitas from Triple-A Gwinnett in a corresponding move to offer some additional depth behind the plate, and though he's expected to start the nightcap Wednesday, he's not a serious threat to push Suzuki for regular action. Despite serving in a part-time role in the second half, Suzuki has been valuable to fantasy owners with a .304 average, eight home runs and 15 RBI across 69 at-bats. His utility will only increase while Flowers is out of the picture.
Suzuki went 1-for-4 with a solo home run during Monday's loss to Seattle. Suzuki continues to post solid fantasy numbers despite splitting time behind the dish with Tyler Flowers. Monday's homer was his seventh through just 17 second-half games, and Suzuki sports an impressive .268/.344/.537 slash line for the year. While the other foot is likely to drop at some point, Suzuki is currently moving the needle in the majority of settings.
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