The Nationals have acquired Kurt Suzuki from the Athletics in exchange for minor leaguer David Freitas, bringing in a veteran catcher who figures to take over starting duties for a first-place club that has been beset with injuries at the position all season.
Suzuki, 28, was hitting only .218 with one homer, 13 RBI and .250 on-base percentage in 75 games with Oakland this season, but he's thrown out 38 percent of basestealers and according to manager Davey Johnson will provide "more veteran presence" during a pennant race.
Johnson described Suzuki as "a No. 1 catcher" and suggested Jesus Flores will return to a backup role, with rookie Sandy Leon likely to be optioned to Class AAA Syracuse after he catches the second game of tonight's doubleheader.
Suzuki is a career .254 hitter and is considered a good handler of pitching staffs. He's still due about 1.8 million for the remainder of this season and is already signed for 6.45 million in 2013, but general manager Mike Rizzo said the A's are picking up an unspecified amount of his contract.
Rizzo said the two teams had been discussing a deal for Suzuki for about a week. Because they couldn't complete the trade before Tuesday's 4 p.m. deadline, Suzuki then had to clear waivers before he could be dealt.
Freitas, also a catcher, was hitting .271 with five homers and 46 RBI at Class A Potomac.