Monday afternoon, Darren Wolfson tweeted that an extension appears to be unlikely to materialize between Kurt Suzuki and the Twins. The Minnesota front office smartly had a limit to how high they were willing to go, while Suzuki's agent came in pretty high.
No Suzuki extension talks over weekend. Easily can be posturing, but in the eyes of one, "Nothing's going to get done (by Thurs.)." #mntwins— Darren Wolfson (@DarrenWolfson) July 28, 2014
How much does Suzuki's agent want? "Far more" than two years and $12 million, according to Wolfson's follow-up conversation. This leaves Minnesota with two options: hold onto Suzuki until the end of the year and revisit contract discussions at that time, or trade him in the next two days and change.
We'll discuss potential contract parameters on a new deal for Suzuki if that's the way things go, but assuming that the Twins will attempt to guarantee themselves some long-term value, which contending teams have need for a catcher? I've outlined the five most likely teams to be interested.
Baltimore Orioles (58-46)
With Matt Wieters out of the picture for the rest of the season, Baltimore is still the best fit. Caleb Joseph (63 OPS+) and Nick Hundley (52 OPS+) are awful at the dish, and Suzuki would give the team a core of four full-time players who rate above league average (since you can't really count Delmon Young or Steve Pearce).
Los Angeles Dodgers (59-47)
The Dogers may like A.J. Ellis, but he's batting .199/.343/.247. Suzuki constitutes a clear upgrade, and it's not as though ex-Twin Drew Butera (.202/.279/.298) is doing anything to make his position as a backup totally secure. This is a club that has the best record in the National League, but San Francisco is breathing down their necks.
St. Louis Cardinals (56-48)
Yes, the Cards have signed A.J. Pierzynski as a backup, but considering Pierzynski's performance this year that doesn't guarantee anything. Tony Cruz has hit just .220/.298/.268 this season, so it's not as though the catcher position has been solved in St. Louis. Sitting on the fringe of the Wild Card and NL Central discussions, this is still a team that needs all the help it can get.
Toronto Blue Jays (57-50)
Dioner Navarro has been as good as Toronto could ask for, hitting .270/.310/.382. Backup Josh Thole has been more than adequate in a backup role, hitting .292 with a .370 on-base percentage. There's certainly a fit here, but the situation isn't as bad as the teams above them on this list.
Washington Nationals (57-46)
Now that Wilson Ramos is back and starting most games, Washington's need isn't as strong as it may have been three or four weeks ago. Ramos (.300/.342/.400) is holding his own. Jose Lobaton, however, has posted a 56 OPS+ as the team's primary starter in Ramos' absence. Could the Nationals be interested in a reunion with their former catcher?