Maui’s Kurt Suzuki’s 15th season in the Major Leagues will be closer to both his hometown and current home than ever before.

Last week, the Wailuku native signed a one year, $1.5 million free agent contract with the Los Angeles Angels.

The Angels, who play their games in Anaheim will keep Suzuki in Orange County where he and his family have called home for a number of years after starring collegiately at Cal State Fullerton.

“We don’t have to uproot our whole family and go somewhere for six months. We get to stay grounded, the kids get to have a summer at their own house and my parents are an easy five hour flight straight directly into Los Angeles and they’re here,” Suzuki told KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello.

Being close to home wasn’t the only thing that drew him the Angels though. Just two years removed from winning his first World Series as a member of the Nationals, the former All-Star is hungry for another run at a championship. Playing with the likes of superstars Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, and Albert Pujols provides that opportunity. With added confidence of having played for current general manager Perry Minasian in his time with the Braves.

“I’m excited man, I mean it was a big priority being able to stay close to home. How close I could stay to home was a huge priority but also I want to win. I’m not going to go sign with a team that doesn’t have a chance to win and the Angels seemed like a perfect fit. New general manager, assistant GM front office that came from Atlanta that I’m familiar with. I got really close with those guys so I’m super excited to see where the team is headed and for this year absolutely.”

Suzuki hit .270 with eight doubles, two home runs and 17 RBIs in 36 games for the Nationals in 2020 during the COVID-shortened 60-game season.

The Angels will serve as the fifth MLB organization he has played for in his soon to be 15 years, joining the Oakland Athletics, Washington Nationals, Minnesota Twins and Atlanta Braves. Of all those stops, Anaheim certainly provides the best chance for family and friends to enjoy the ride.

“Weather wise this is about as close as you’re going to get with the nice weather and the beaches and stuff like that. The thing is it’s a direct flight for my parents or friends or family that want to come watch me play and it makes it a lot easier for a lot of things,” said Suzuki.

It’s not just those that choose to travel that get to benefit from Suzuki’s new destination either since all Angels games are televised in the Aloha State on Fox Sports West, meaning an subscription won’t be necessary to follow the Baldwin graduate.

“Oh my gosh, that’s unbelievable. Everybody has been texting me saying yes, I finally get all your games on Fox Sports and it’s super easy and all this kind of stuff. So it works out perfectly.”

As for his on the field expectations for 2021, Suzuki looks forward to embracing a veterans role with the club as Suzuki joins a position group of expected starter Max Stassi and all signs pointing towards Anthony Bemboom also remaining on the 40-man roster to provide depth.

“Just talking to Perry and his new staff, my role is probably just going to be more of a traditional back up. Play a few times a week at the most. Mentor the young guys, just be a clubhouse presence and that’s fine with me. At this stage of my career I’m not going to be able to catch 120 games. I’m more out there to do whatever I can to help the team win and whether if that’s catching 40 games or 60, 70, I’m all for it and it’s a great spot to be in because I feel like as I’ve taken care of my body and allowed more rest to my body I’ve produced a lot better to be able to help the team win.”

At 37 years of age, Suzuki acknowledges that his time in Major League Baseball could be coming to an end soon and intends to embrace the season quite possibly being his last. Especially since that mindset has suited him well over the previous half decade.

“I think these last few years I’ve gone into every year thinking this could possibly be my last year. Once you hit this mark and you start getting up there in age, every game could be your last game. You just never know. You’re body could break down or things could happen and things like that. Every year I think about this could potentially be my last year, you just go out there and have fun and do it and shoot, it’s been prolonging me for an extra four or five years and I’ll take it,” Suzuki said laughing. “Definitely you always think about that. This could potentially be my last year which is kind of crazy to think.”