Report: Royals trade Zack Greinke to Brewers

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We all went to bed waiting for a national reporter to come out and say if the rumors we were hearing last night were true and it turns out they are.

As first reported by Jim Breen of Bernie’s Blog and then Andrew Wagner of OnMilwaukee.com, sources tell Buster Olney of ESPN.com that the Brewers have acquired Zack Greinke from the Royals for outfielder Lorenzo Cain, shortstop Alcides Escobar and prospect pitchers Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress. The Brewers are expected to receive another major league player in the deal, though his identity has not been confirmed.

The original deal mentioned by Breen had Greinke, Yuniesky Betancourt and $2 million going to the Brewers for Cain, Escobar and Jeffress. Wagner was the first to mention the addition of Jeffress to the deal. Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reported early this morning that the two sides were closing in on a deal, but he spoke to the agent for Cain and Jeffress, who had not been informed of any trade. The trade would also require Greinke’s approval, since the Brewers are believed to be on his “no-trade list.”

But let’s focus on the main part of this shocking deal. If true, Greinke will join Yovani Gallardo, Shaun Marcum and Randy Wolf to give Milwaukee the type of front four that can go toe-to-toe with the Cardinals from Day One in the NL Central. The 27-year-old right-hander saw a drop in strikeouts this past season, but his velocity was just as good as ever. He should do quite well with the switch to the National League.

Some will say that the Royals didn’t get enough here and perhaps that is true, but they were able to acquire a shortstop and a center fielder, two pieces they didn’t have in their impressive minor league pipeline. Did you really want Melky Cabrera and Yuniesky Betancourt up the middle for this team next season? Because that’s what it would have been. Greinke has two years and $27 million left on his contract and it was pretty obvious he wanted out. My only gripe is that Odorizzi won’t be ready to contribute in the big leagues right away, but the Royals aren’t exactly set up to compete next season.

Lastly, I just wanted to say, go bloggers! Everyone doubted Breen, but he went with the story and is now vindicated. Well done.

UPDATE: Peter Gammons and Tom Haudricourt are reporting that Jeremy Jeffress may not be part of the trade. They are both hearing a player to be named later.

UPDATE II: Here are the full details of the trade. According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, the Brewers will receive Zack Greinke, Yuniesky Betancourt and $2 million to cover Betancourt’s salary from the Royals for Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Jake Odorizzi and a player to be named later. The trade will be officially announced later today.

UPDATE III: Ken Rosenthal, Tom Haudricourt and Adam McCalvy have all heard that Jeffress may still be the player to be named later. Stay tuned.

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.