June 27, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Oakland Athletics catcher Kurt Suzuki (8) throws his bat down after hitting a ground ball to the Seattle Mariners during the 6th inning at Safeco Field. Oakland defeated Seattle 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE
Oakland Athletics Trade Kurt Suzuki to Washington Nationals for Prospect Dave Freitas
The July 31st trade deadline is past, but it is still possible to make a trade if you can get a player through waivers. That happened today, the Oakland Athletics trading catcher Kurt Suzuki to the Washington Nationals in exchange for another backstop, catcher Dave Freitas. Let's take a look.
Dave Freitas, C: The Nationals drafted Freitas in the 15th round in 2010, from the University of Hawaii. He quietly had a solid season in 2011, hitting .288/.409/.450 with 13 homers and 82 walks in 427 at-bats for Low-A Hagerstown in the South Atlantic League, throwing out 25% of stealers. He's played 78 games this year for High-A Potomac, hitting .271/.374/.407 with 39 walks in 273 at-bats, throwing out 33% of runners trying to steal.
Freitas is a 6-2, 225 pound right-handed hitter, born March 18, 1989. His game can be described as "Derek Norris Lite": he relies on good plate discipline as his key offensive attribute. He has some raw power, although not as much as Norris. On defense, he's respected for his mobility, reliability, and leadership skills, but his throwing mechanics get balky and he's not great at controlling the running game, although he's shown some improvement.
Most scouts see Freitas as an eventual reserve catcher. We'll have to see how his bat looks at higher levels, but he has the kind of strike zone judgment that the Athletics like to see.