Report: Brewers have deal for Counsell

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According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Brewers have a tentative agreement in place to re-sign free agent infielder Craig Counsell.
The 39-year-old Counsell was believed to be seeking a two-year contract
this winter, but the length and terms of the new contract are not yet
known.




Counsell came out of nowhere in 2009
to provide his most productive season since 2005, batting
.285/.357/.408 with four home runs, 39 RBI and 61 runs scored in 130
games — again, his heaviest workload since the 2005 season. With the
wrist injury to Rickie Weeks, the slumping J.J. Hardy and the hot
corner in flux, Counsell made 44 starts at second base, 19 starts at
shortstop and 27 starts at third base.




If Counsell plays in 130 games again
next season, it will likely mean that something went very wrong in the
Milwaukee infield for a second straight season, but he’s fine insurance
as a utility man. Counsell reportedly received interest from upwards of
ten teams, and he probably could have started elsewhere (Reds?), but
there was little doubt that the Milwaukee-native would eventually
decide to return.

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.