I don’t think anyone disagrees that Brian Fuentes was wrong to spout off about Bob Geren to the media the other night. Even Fuentes agrees, saying in his apology yesterday that he still believed everything he said about Geren’s lack of communication skills, but that he merely shouldn’t have shared it publicly like he did.
Sharing his distaste for Geren publicly today is former A’s pitcher Huston Street, who had many of the same complaints that Fuentes had. Only he, in a text sent to Chronicle reporter Susan Slusser, was a lot more expansive when it came to his feelings about his former manager:
“Bob was never good at communication, and I don’t want to speak for anybody else, but it was a sentiment reflected in many conversations during the two years I spent in Oakland, and even recently when talking to guys after I left. For me personally, he was my least favorite person I have ever encountered in sports from age 6 to 27. I am very thankful to be in a place where I can trust my manager.”
The Chronicle’s John Shea goes on to remind us of a blowup Street had with Geren on a road trip in 2008 and how, on that same trip, Mike Sweeney went after Geren too due to what he felt was, again, a lack of communication and ultimately poor treatment. This being the same Mike Sweeney whose primary mode of expressing himself is via hugs.
There are a couple of players quoted who, while not giving Geren a ringing endorsement, don’t slam him either. But yeah, it does seem like one of those situations that is gonna snowball. There aren’t many “the manager is losing his team” stories that end well for that manager. And that’s true whether the manager is best buddies with the GM or not.
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.”
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.