Kurt Suzuki came over to Washington in a trade from Oakland last year which means he’s seen a lot of Denard Span and Dan Haren, the two major offseason acquisitions for the Nationals.
“I’ve gotten a chance to play against Denard the last five seasons and he’s a special player,” Suzuki told 106.7 The Fan’s Holden and Danny. “It seemed like every time he came up to bat it was 10 pitches.
He went on to say that Span’s blazing speed makes him an ideal leadoff hitter, a piece that had been missing from Mike Rizzo’s puzzle for some time.
Suzuki is looking forward to having a pitcher as accomplished as Haren at the back end of the rotation. He’s a guy Suzuki had a chance to catch for half a season during an all-star year in Oakland.
“He commands both sides of the plate,” he said. “He has a pretty good put-away pitch with his split. He’s a workhouse who’s going to give you everything he’s got every time he starts.”
Suzuki was new to the playoffs last year along with the Nationals, and says the experience of blowing a six-run lead against the Cardinals in Game 5 of the NLDS was something he wishes he couldn’t remember, but that memory has fueled him this offseason.
“Any time you watch highlights on baseball and you watch transactions and stuff, you think about what happened in Game 5,” Suzuki said. “That still has a fire burning under me and that’s not something I want to remember, but I think it just makes you that much more motivated.”
Suzuki felt horrible for Drew Storen when he blew the two-run lead that sent St. Louis to the NLCS, but says he’ll respond well to the signing of Rafael Soriano, who will most likely replace him as the closer.
“It’s too bad that that one game is the way his season ended. He’s one of the best closers in the game,” he said. “Drew’s such a professional that he understands the business of the game.”
There’s no telling who will get more time behind the plate in ’13, but the depth of Suzuki and Ramos should be viewed as an advantage that will keep both rested for a 162-game season.
Regardless of who sees more pitches, both will savor each one thrown by what’s being viewed as the best rotation in baseball.
“It’s pretty incredible the type of arms you have in one rotation,” he said.
Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez, Ross Detwiler and Dan Haren, just in case you forgot.