Wow: ten minutes after I do an extended “Logan’s Run” riff on Bob Geren, speculating that he’ll be gone come this September when he turns 50, the A’s go and fire him. Geren is out: Bob Melvin takes over.
The A’s have lost nine in a row and absolutely nothing has gone right for them. They depended on the offense improving and it hasn’t. They depended on the pitching carrying them like last year and there have been injuries preventing that. And the whole reason for hiring a guy like Geren in the first place — even keel, do the front office’s bidding, etc. — was called into question a few weeks ago when Geren got into a public dispute with reliever Brian Fuentes. If a middle manager can’t keep the peace, what’s the point of having a middle manager? Given his famous friendship with Billy Beane, one wonders if he simply lost the A’s clubhouse entirely.
Replacing Geren is Bob Melvin, who compiled a 337-340 record in four-plus seasons with the Diamondbacks. The same Melvin who, just a couple of weeks ago, was re-hired by the Diamondbacks as a “special baseball advisor.” He probably hasn’t even finished his Dbacks new employee orientation yet, but now he’s the boss of the A’s.
Tough break, Bob. Congratulations on the new job, other Bob.
UPDATE: Here’s the Athletics’ full press release on the firing. It’s mostly just biography on Geren and Melvin. Presumably there will be a press conference later when someone can lie and say that Geren was not fired due to a full-on team revolt as many who have covered the A’s before are suggesting on Twitter this afternoon.
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.