Besides swapping Sam Fuld for Tommy Milone, the Twins didn’t make a major trade at last week’s non-waiver trade deadline. There were rumors about Kurt Suzuki or Josh Willingham ending up in a new uniform but those rumors never came to fruition. Even though the team has been in the midst of a rough three year stretch, the club hasn’t been very active around July 31st trade deadline.
One clear move made by the front office signals a lot for the future make-up of the franchise. Kurt Suzuki signed a two-year, $12 million contract extension. The Twins pitching staff and coaches have lauded over Suzuki for his leadership and professional approach to the game. There had been plenty of voices that made it clear that they wanted Suzuki to remain in a Twins uniform.
After Joe Mauer’s move to first base this past offseason, the Twins didn’t have a clear plan at catcher. There were rumors that the club tried to sign some of the bigger free agent names but ended up settling for Suzuki. He’s now in the midst of his best professional season and he will be the Twins catcher for multiple years.
Josmil Pinto is one person whose future might be most impacted by the Suzuki signing. He made the Twins roster to start the season but saw limited playing time. The Twins send him to Rochester to get some more catching experience and Glen Perkins called him out for not being the bestperson to throw to behind the plate. Perkins is one of the clubhouse leaders and I doubt he would call out a younger player unless it was necessary.
Pinto might not see a lot of time at catcher moving forward. There are other catchers in the system that should be ready by the time Suzuki’s contract expires. Here are some names to watch over the next two years.
Stuart Turner, Fort Myers Miracle
Turner was the Twins third round pick in 2013. The college experienced catcher was expected to move through the system quickly and he is already at High-A. His offensive numbers are adequate but he has been know more for his defensive skills. If he continues to move at his current pace, he'll me making his debut near the end of Suzuki's current deal.
Mitch Garver, Cedar Rapids Kernels
Garver has combined for over 35 extra base hits in his first full professional season. These totals put him near the top of the Midwest League in home runs, doubles, and slugging percentage. He was a ninth round pick in 2013 so he has turned into a nice surprise. If Turner fails to make it all the way to big leagues, Garver is shaping up as a viable offensive threat.
Alex Swim, Cedar Rapids Kernels
Swim has spent most of this season in Cedar Rapids and his average would rank second in the league if he had enough at-bats to qualify. While his average has been great, he hits for very little power. In over 135 plate appearances, he has yet to hit double digits in extra base hits. Pitchers are going to be able to attack him as he moves up the ladder especially if he doesn't hit for more power.