The other day, the Mariners completed a deal with backup catcher, Jesus Sucre for one year at a price tag of $633,000. The signing all but finalizes GM Jerry Dipoto’s plans for the position.
This signing by the Mariners will surely go down as one of the more under-appreciated moves that Jerry Dipoto will make this off-season, but it shouldn’t be.
Sucre has not been an often-featured man for the Mariners, but he has proved useful in a number of instances -particularly when Felix Hernandez is on the mound.
When the Venezuelan countrymen paired up in back-to-back appearances by Sucre on September 10th and 21st, the duo put together a combined thirteen straight innings of brilliance.
Early in the game on the 10th versus the Oakland Athletics, the Sucre-Hernandez connection got into a bit of trouble but ultimately was able to work out of two jams with a runner in scoring position.
Through the six innings that the worked together, Sucre will help Hernandez to allow just two more insignificant hits, and most importantly, not let the Athletics have a runner cross home plate.
The next outing on the 21st, the pair picked up right where they left off, and even out-performed themselves. Over seven innings this time, Sucre assisted Hernandez with his shutout, two-hit game. Although this just scratches the surface of what the two have done together.
He also set the tempo of the game a couple of times with Hisashi Iwakuma. Sucre nearly steered the Japanese hurler to a complete game shutout back in 2014, and also helped him through 7.2 innings without allowing a run the year before that.
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That’s just a sample of the work he’s put in. Sucre has been part of a handful of other great pitching performances over his limited four-year career.
And this is just what he’s done orchestrating behind the plate. When he stood in the batter’s box this past season, he made a case that he can be offensively productive too.
Despite a career .209 batting average, Sucre hit for an outstanding average of .480 last year and reached base more than half of his plate appearances in nine games.
All of these numbers give the Mariners a fairly reliable catcher that will likely get playing time if Mike Zunino continues his career-long batting slump and/or Carlos Ruiz’s stamina becomes a factor or if “The King” demands to have Sucre as his partner whenever he takes the mound.
Whichever reason it ends up being, Sucre will be a useful resource if he is needed. But, if he’s never called upon, at least he’ll make $300K while playing in the minors (if the Mariners take Sucre down that route).