- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 27, 2010

NEW YORK (AP) - Athletics catcher Kurt Suzuki is guaranteed $16.25 million under his new four-year contract with Oakland.

Suzuki had agreed in March to a deal paying him $420,000 in the major leagues and $246,000 in the minors.

Under the contract announced Friday, he receives a $150,000 signing bonus and $600,000 this year.

His salary increases to $3.4 million next year, when he would have been eligible for arbitration for the first time. He then gets $5 million in 2012 and $6.45 million in 2013.

Oakland has an $8.5 million team option for 2014 with a $650,000 buyout, and the option would become guaranteed at $9.25 million if Suzuki has 118 games started as a catcher in 2013.

His salary in 2014, when he could be eligible for free agency, can escalate based on a points system for awards won.

The 26-year-old Suzuki began Tuesday with a .264 batting average, 11 homers and 42 RBIs.

“Since the day Kurt got here, beyond being an outstanding player, he’s been an outstanding leader and a quality guy off the field, as well,” A’s general manager Billy Beane said when the deal was announced. “He’s the type of player you’d like to invest in. We actually started this process in the spring and started bringing up the idea. Sometimes it takes a little longer.”

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