HBT Weekend Wrapup

1 Comment

Hope you all had a great Fourth of July! In honor of our Nation’s
birthday, I
put my daughter in the cap of a defunct Canadian baseball team

before heading out to the Independence Day parade. And my birthday is on
Bastille Day, so yes, I am a double agent for Francophones the world
over. You got a problem with that?

  • A few weeks ago New York columnists wouldn’t know who R.A. Dickey was if he fell out of the sky landed on their face and started to wiggle. Now he should be an All-Star. Makes sense.
  • Carlos Beltran is coming back July 15th. Anyone with a brain knew this (i.e. after the break) was probably when he’d come back. Didn’t stop Jerry Manuel from telling people he’d be back weeks ago.
  • Not the best outing for Stephen Strasburg. He didn’t have his best stuff and likely pitched himself out of the All-Star Game. I think he was one of the few guys who looked pretty good in those white hats, though, and that has to count for something.
  • Manny Ramirez goes on the disabled list. I like Manny and all, but reporting on his every move seems like something we don’t really need to be doing anymore. In terms of relevance, it’s kind of like talking about the latest Blink 182 record or the next “Lord of the Rings” movie or something.

I’m all screwed up on whether or not today is a holiday. The libraries and banks and government offices are all closed, but my wife is working and my kids’ little day camps are open. Further screwing me up is that fireworks in my little village were Saturday — not yesterday — and the big fireworks in downtown Columbus were Friday — again, not yesterday. Basically, I’ve lost all sense of time, space and the calendar.

Whatever. We’re posting today. How much we post may be impacted by whether or not baseball’s newsmakers consider it a holiday and whether or not my temporal vertigo leads me to say “screw it” and start cracking beers at 2pm.  Either way, we’ll get through this together.

Report: Braves extend Kurt Suzuki

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.