Free agency on a budget: Troy Glaus

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Struggles returning from offseason shoulder surgery followed by back problems left Troy Glaus on the sidelines until September and he played just 14 games overall this season, basically making 2009 a lost year for the four-time All-Star.
His health remains a huge question mark, but Glaus batted .270/.372/.483 with 27 homers in 151 games for the Cardinals as recently as last year to top an .800 OPS in a ninth straight season. For the 2000s he leads all MLB third baseman with 274 homers and ranks third in adjusted OPS+ behind only Chipper Jones and David Wright.
Glaus’ ability to play third base is certainly in doubt, because in addition to the shoulder problems he’s 33 years old, stands 6-foot-5, and weighs around 250 pounds. However, he was originally a shortstop and his defense has graded out reasonably well at the hot corner, with Ultimate Zone Rating pegging his glove as a positive there in both 2007 and 2008. Plus, if needed his bat is certainly potent enough to remain at asset at first base or even designated hitter.
In terms of risk versus reward Glaus likely has the highest upside of any free agent third baseman, because his value and price tag have never been lower and if healthy he’s an elite right-handed power hitter with good plate discipline and a decent glove.

Report: Braves extend Kurt Suzuki

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Kurt Suzuki will wear a Braves’ uniform through the 2018 season after signing a one-year, $3.5 million extension with the club on Saturday, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. Rosenthal adds that the two had been in talks for weeks and Suzuki made it clear that he wanted to remain in Atlanta for the foreseeable future. The team has yet to announce the extension.

Suzuki, 33, initially signed a one-year contract with the Braves back in January. The veteran backstop stepped into a backup role behind starting catcher Tyler Flowers, but still found a way to impress at the plate with a .271/.343/.525 batting line, career-best 18 home runs and an .868 OPS through 287 PA. According to FanGraphs, Suzuki’s 2.2 fWAR makes 2017 his most valuable season since his run with the 2009 Athletics.

It’s a prudent move for the Braves, who would have lost one of their most dynamic second-half hitters to the free agent market this offseason. Entering Saturday, Suzuki is second only to Freddie Freeman with 11 homers and 1.4 fWAR since the All-Star break. His stunning comeback also confirmed the team’s decision to look outside the organization for a backup catcher, rather than turning to fellow veteran Anthony Recker behind the plate.

“On a personal level, this season exceeded my expectations,” Suzuki told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s just one of those things I can’t explain. I put a lot of work in and really didn’t have a job until late January. I got an opportunity here and took advantage of it. It was definitely a good fit.”

Mikie Mahtook is likely done for the season

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Tigers’ outfielder Mikie Mahtook is unlikely to play again this season, club manager Brad Ausmus announced Saturday. Mahtook was diagnosed with a Grade 2 left groin strain following Friday’s series opener against the Twins, when he appeared to injure himself after chasing down Byron Buxton‘s two-RBI double in the fourth.

This is the second time Mahtook has sustained a groin injury over the past month. The 27-year-old exited Friday’s game with a .276/.330/.457 batting line, 12 home runs and a .787 OPS through 379 plate appearances with the team.

With the Tigers out of contention, there’s no reason to trot out Mahtook for the remaining eight games of the regular season. The club has yet to specify a timetable for his return, but there’s no reason to believe he won’t be in fine shape to compete for a starting role next spring.