Braves make Suzuki signing official

Atlanta adds insurance behind the plate with veteran catcher

Braves make Suzuki signing official

ATLANTA -- The Braves officially announced Monday afternoon that they signed veteran catcher Kurt Suzuki to a one-year contract. Suzuki agreed to the one-year, $1.5 million deal on Jan. 21.

Suzuki will have the opportunity to earn an additional $2.5 million worth of incentives that will be based on the amount of playing time he gets while serving as Tyler Flowers' backup catcher.

The Braves would have had interest in Wilson Ramos had he not suffered a significant right knee injury in late September, and they never warmed to the possibility of seriously pursuing Matt Wieters as a free agent this winter.

Once Jason Castro signed with the Twins, the Brave stuck with their plan to use Flowers as their starting catcher and hoped that Anthony Recker would prove to be a serviceable backup.

Suzuki's three-run homer

Thoughts of using Recker once every five days weren't as discomforting as the reality that he would become the starter if Flowers was sidelined for a significant period of time. Thus, the Braves opted to acquire better insurance in the form of Suzuki, a 33-year-old veteran who has made 1,102 starts as a catcher over his 10-season big league career.

Suzuki has compiled a .683 OPS over 4,622 career plate appearances, and he is coming off a season in which he batted .258 with eight home runs and compiled a .704 OPS for the Twins.

Among the 24 catchers who logged at least 650 innings behind the plate last year, Flowers ranked last with a -1.1 defensive fWAR and Suzuki ranked 20th with a 3.8. Both have registered well in the pitch-framing department, but struggled recently against opposing basestealers.

In terms of catcher-caught-stealing percentage, which doesn't account for pitcher pickoffs, Suzuki retired seven of 59 basestealers last year. His resulting 11.9 percent success rate was better only than those produced by Nick Hundley (seven of 64, 10.1 percent) and Flowers (two of 62, 3.2 percent).

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.