Brian Sabean, some mystery GM take issue with Buster Olney's GM piece

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Remember that Buster Olney article I linked yesterday in which he relayed anonymous GM scouting reports on other GMs?  Well, Brian Sabean — who was pretty much slammed in it — isn’t happy with the results:

“I’ve never talked to Buster. I tried to reach him today
to have a productive conversation. I was told he polled 12 GMs and 7
responded . . . The article is what it is, but it’s backhanded. There
should be further explanation and there is not. It comes down to
management style, and when it comes down to it, he didn’t poll 30
teams.”

Sabean’s actually wrong on the numbers: Buster actually got responses from 12 GMs, not seven. Seven of those 12 named Sabean the most difficult guy to deal with.  Finding seven GMs to agree on anything seems like a pretty tall order, so I’m willing to give Olney the benefit of the doubt here.

Not that Olney’s poll was perfect or anything. One of the respondents described Arizona Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes thusly: “I think he’s smart as hell, he’s well thought-out, and he’s a good
person.”

That would be ex-Diamonbacks GM Josh Byrnes, of course. Between his firing and Sabean’s inexplicable longevity, I guess being as smart as hell doesn’t count for much these days.

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.