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A's GM tells Suzuki to avoid contact

Posted on: May 31, 2011 10:32 pm
Edited on: June 1, 2011 6:02 am
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'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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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 10, 2011 5:05 am

A's GM tells Suzuki to avoid contact

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 2:01 am

A's GM tells Suzuki to avoid contact

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Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: June 1, 2011 2:29 pm

A's GM tells Suzuki to avoid contact

I played catcher in high school and college and some of these comments are well wow. There is a technique used to tag the runner to avoid contact but it really only works if the runner is like 15 feet away and you have time to setup. Most plays at the plate are bang bang and i would block the play with my foot not my leg if possible. There isnt normally enough time to really block the plate properly unless the throw comes up the 3rd base line. Just because one catcher gets hurt it doesnt mean you change the whole way this aspect of the position is changed.

Since: Jul 23, 2008
Posted on: June 1, 2011 11:42 am

A's GM tells Suzuki to avoid contact

Way to go snacks33!  I'm getting fed up with cyber-bullies like lumpoco.  Guys with pocket-protectors pretending to know something about a game they NEVER played.  It's easy to talk smack to someone on a message board.  I have zero respect for these types.  It comes to a point where you're best off sticking to sarcasm and not responding to stupidity.

BTW I'd rather hear from someone with real experience than an idiot that knows NOTHING about the game.  Only CATCHERS know that we crave the home plate collision just as much as the runner.  The runner is trying to score and knock the catcher down/knock the ball loose.  The catcher is trying to tag the runner out/not allow the run to score and knock the runner on his back-side.  It's one of the most exciting plays in baseball.  And it can go either way.  If the catcher wins he loves it!  Sometimes he doesn't win and he still loves it.  The catcher is then looking forward to the next play at the plate for redemption.

Nobody WANTS to get injured, but getting "hurt" or "putting the hurt on someone" is part of the game.

Another example for catchers would be, don't throw the ball to second unless you're sure you can throw out a base stealer.  Save your arm.  Only someone that has seriously played baseball understands that you can't play to your best if you're thinking about avoiding injury.

Once you're opponent knows that avoiding an injury is your priority then you have given him an edge over you.

If sports were COMPLETELY safe would they still be fun to watch?  Or play?

Keep it up snacks!

Since: Jan 13, 2010
Posted on: June 1, 2011 11:16 am

A's GM tells Suzuki to avoid contact

Well lumpoco i guess youre right on one dont understand sarcastic things. Of course most of what i said was sarcasm, but not the final parts. If you think a player should be concerned about getting hurt and having debilitating injuries throughout his life then guess what...he needs to find a new career. Football players deal with it all the time... on every play the chance exists that they may end up with a career ending injury or maybe even worse. And as for the playing part...i did play. D1 College, 6 yrs in the minors, and I was a catcher. Then i coached in college for 8 yrs. Sure there are mechanics to try to avoid a collision when possible but my point is if you go into a play with your prime thought being "dont get plowed" you're screwed. It takes away your ability to do your job right and to "play the game". As for the stupidest post ever...I thought the same thing when I read yours so I guess we do have like minds.

Since: Mar 4, 2008
Posted on: June 1, 2011 11:06 am

A's GM tells Suzuki to avoid contact

I think Snacks was saying how many times have catchers been knocked out for the season?  And trying to get an idea from a larger sample group of incidents as opposed to one incident, the Posey injury.  This is actually a smarter way to go about than the way Billy Beane and Lumpoco is.  And he makes a great point IMO about how far do you go with this?  However, the authors argument that it's an unecessary risk is easy to agree with.  If any of you have ever played/coached baseball (I'm guessing from your posts you haven't) blocking the plate is taught at a young age, it's not an automatic response.  So it would just take a different method of teaching.  Simple change.

Since: May 28, 2011
Posted on: June 1, 2011 9:26 am

A's GM tells Suzuki to avoid contact


Since: Apr 7, 2011
Posted on: June 1, 2011 8:00 am

A's GM tells Suzuki to avoid contact

I wonder if Beane asked Giambi not to slide into homeplate. 

Since: Aug 12, 2010
Posted on: June 1, 2011 4:22 am

A's GM tells Suzuki to avoid contact

I may be wrong, but I think a point from snacks post could have been that circumstances dictate a players action, and in some cases that might involve blocking the plate to avoid a run. Is that the right action for every play at the plate, of course not, but the catcher has to be able to discerne that for himself. You can't change how people play the game or how it should be played because of one occurence. However unfortunate this occurence was, you can't change how the game is played or how it should be played. I think if there is a point to take from this ONE instance, it's that Cousins was given a good shot at the plate and decided to run over Posey anyway.

Since: Jun 1, 2011
Posted on: June 1, 2011 4:18 am

A's GM tells Suzuki to avoid contact

The Oakland A's don't keep player's very often, the last time they gave a big contract to a player, Eric Chavez his body broke down. The A's paid Chavez 6 years and $ 65 million.( they aren't in the business of wasting cash )  No way does the management want its best all around player hurt. Suzuki is on his way to being a top 5 catch in the major leagues. Losing a player like this can set your team back, maybe a couple years. Suzuki is a lot of reason why the A's have the best ERA in baseball. Suzuki defense as gotten a lot better, but is bat is weak and he needs to bring his average up to over .270 to be decent. Billy Beane is smart to tell his player to watch out and avoid contact. Suzuki is making 3.4 million this season. 

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