ATLANTA -- Nine months after ending what was a prolonged and stressful stint as a free agent, Kurt Suzuki will enter this offseason with the comfort of knowing he will be returning to the Braves amid the hope of being reacquainted with the same comfort and success he found this season in Atlanta.
Before Saturday night's game against the Phillies at SunTrust Park, the Braves and Suzuki agreed to a one-year, $3.5 million deal for the 2018 season. The 33-year-old veteran would have likely been one of the most attractive catchers on this year's free-agent market, but he made it clear he wanted to stay in Atlanta.
"It feels good, as this is a place that I love and I wanted to come back," Suzuki said. "I am glad everything worked out. The comfort of my family and all that kind of stuff helped a lot in the decision. It is nice to be in a place with a lot of young players. You can see the potential and a lot of positives coming out of this. It is only going to get better, and I am excited to be a part of that."
After signing a one-year, $1.5-million deal with the Braves in January, Suzuki reinvigorated his career while splitting the catching duties with Tyler Flowers. This duo is now lined up to serve as Atlanta's catchers next year, as well.
Braves general manager John Coppolella confirmed he is "strongly leaning" toward exercising Flowers' $4 million option. Braves catchers ranked second in the Majors this year with a 4.4 fWAR.
"You can have situations where the two [catchers] might not get along as well as these two guys do," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "[Flowers and Suzuki] are each other's biggest fan. I think it makes an arrangement like that special, when each of them are pulling for the other guy."
Suzuki's deal was completed less than 24 hours after recording his fifth career multi-homer game -- his third of this season. The highly likeable Hawaiian has hit 14 of his career-high 18 home runs since the start of July. He had not hit more than 15 home runs in any of his previous 10 Major League seasons and totaled 16 homers over the last three seasons, all of which Suzuki spent with the Twins.
When Suzuki's wife took their children back to Los Angeles to prepare for the offseason on Friday, she knew there was a chance their stay in Atlanta would be extended. Less than 24 hours later, she was pleased to learn the family will be spending a second consecutive season in Atlanta.
"The family loved it here and the kids had a great time," Suzuki said. "Everything worked out, and that was bottom line. It felt good and the team looked good. Going forward, it is nothing but positives and I am excited."