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How Can We Keep Kurt Fresh?

Games Played

2007: 68
2008: 148
2009: 147
2010: 131

There's really no way to sugarcoat it—Kurt Suzuki is only 26, and he's caught the most innings out of any catcher not named Jason Kendall in the last three years. And, unfortunately, it looks like his body may have just caught up with the huge workload. Conventional wisdom states that catching is something that can't be a full-time job, because of the strain catching puts on the body. And while I've never been one to stick by conventional wisdom, I don't see much downside by following it in this case. Kurt's bat, while good, isn't exactly a Joe Mauer-caliber force that will be sorely missed on the days he sits.

So what are the options, assuming that trotting Kurt out there for 140+ games again isn't an acceptable plan?


2007: .322
2008: .320
2009: .321
2010: .296

The way I see it, the A's have one choice. They need to permanently assign the backup catcher, Landon Powell, to Dallas Braden.

Landon and Dallas were both drafted by the A's in 2004, and spent significant amounts of time working with each other in the minors. It's a small sample size (84 innings), but Braden's career OPS Against when working with Powell is 39% better than his total numbers. And, oh, there was that little thing about the perfect game. Braden and Powell seem to work well with each other, and Kurt Suzuki would be better served by having a regular day of rest.

Percentage of Flyballs That Are Pop-ups

2007: 6.3%
2008: 8.5%
2009: 9.6%
2010: 20.2%

Are there any other options? Is the injury risk overblown? And what about Josh Donaldson? The AN community has got to have some answers.