I want the Cubs to hire their new GM quickly. Why? To spare us from speculation pieces with passages like this one from Olney’s column this morning:
And here’s another big name to keep in mind: Theo Epstein, the general manager of the Red Sox … Keep in mind that Epstein has carved out a strong position under Red Sox owners Henry and Tom Werner, and friends say he has a deep loyalty to the Boston organization — and keep in mind that Boston is his hometown, and that Epstein is in the middle of his current contract … There’s no telling how Henry would react, or how Ricketts would handle that situation, or what Epstein would want, until those conversations take place.
So there’s no suggestion that the Cubs are interested in Epstein, no suggestion that Epstein wants to go anywhere and he’s locked up for several more years? Well hell, you may as well start clearing out a new office for him already.
Theo Epstein and Brian Cashman are great GMs who make a load of money, have near-infinite resources at their disposal and, time after time, say they’re not interested in going anyplace else. In light of that, it seems like we should demand more than “[Epstein or Cashman] would be a good fit” stories. Of course they’d be good fits. They’d be good fits anyplace. But it strikes me that there’s gotta be some there there before we go there, ya know?
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.