Royals reportedly 'really pushing to move Jose Guillen'

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Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports that “the Royals are really pushing to move Jose Guillen and continue to tell teams they will eat a lot of dollars.”
I’ll be shocked if the Royals can get any kind of decent prospect for Guillen, which is why I suggested last month they’d be better off simply dumping the 34-year-old designated hitter and handing his playing time to either Alex Gordon or Kila Ka’aihue.
Guillen had a big April, but he’s hit just .258 with a .385 slugging percentage over the past 58 games and batted .257 with a .415 slugging percentage in his first two seasons in Kansas City. He’s owed about $6 million for the second half, but even if the Royals are willing to eat that entire amount I can’t see any contenders wanting Guillen as an everyday player, let alone wanting him as an everyday player enough to part with something of value.
Meanwhile, Gordon and Ka’aihue continue to waste away at Triple-A despite ranking first and second among Pacific Coast League hitters in OPS. Gordon is hitting .338 with 1.054 OPS in 51 games. Ka’aihue is hitting .308 with a 1.052 OPS in 61 games. For comparison, Guillen has hit a combined .263 with a .743 OPS for his three-year Royals career. So instead of giving starts to two of the best hitters in the organization the Royals have kept them in the minors in the hopes of getting a low-level prospect for Guillen.

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.