Nightengale notes: Bradley, Swisher, Halladay

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Bob Nightengale of USA Today posted a bunch of interesting notes via Twitter today, including:
* Tampa Bay has become “the clear-cut favorite” to acquire Milton Bradley from the Cubs.
Last offseason the Rays pursued Bradley as a free agent before he signed a three-year, $30 million deal with the Cubs and now they can get him for pennies on the dollar. There have been rumors of a Bradley-for-Pat Burrell swap, as Burrell was a huge disappointing in his first season with the Rays and is owed $9 million in 2010.
* Nick Swisher is “ever so quietly” being shopped by the Yankees.
Swisher was credited with helping to energize the Yankees’ clubhouse and more importantly he made a big on-field impact by hitting .249/.371/.498 with 29 homers and 35 doubles, but going 6-for-47 (.128) in the playoffs overshadowed his strong regular season. Could he be an option for the Cardinals if Matt Holliday signs elsewhere?
* Los Angeles is “focusing on” Roy Halladay because the Dodgers “badly need an ace,” but would have to give up Chad Billingsley “and others” to get a deal done.
Billingsley is 24 years old with a 47-30 record and 3.55 ERA in 634 career innings, so dealing him straight-up for one season of Halladay sounds iffy to me. Dealing him “and others” would likely be a mistake given that Halladay can become a free agent next offseason while Billingsley is under team control through 2012.
* Detroit, Seattle, and a “mystery team” have talked about a deal involving Edwin Jackson and Brandon Morrow.
Various rumors last week had the Tigers shopping Jackson because of payroll constraints and the Mariners have soured on Morrow, but obviously this is tough to weigh in on too much without knowing the third party.

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.