Chalres Norton, the Astros former director of baseball research/pro scouting coordinator, has sued the team, claiming they breached his contract when they terminated him on January 12.
Kind of strange in that, with a new owner, president and general manager, you expect house to have been cleaned. And the man who presided over a scouting and analytics program that gave the Astros one of the worst if not the worst minor league systems in the game is probably prime for the chopping block. But Norton says that he was promised a job for a year:
According to the lawsuit, during a meeting on Dec. 16, 2011 that included Norton, Luhnow told those who were there, “everyone here and around are signed through next year and can have comfort that they have a job for a year.”
The lawsuit also states Luhnow made similiar comments on Jan. 3, 2012.
Hurm. I have no idea what happened, but it’s rare in this day and age for a new manager to say such things to a group of people when the subject of employment and firings and stuff come up. No one in that context even promises that the sun will come up in the east for fear of getting sued.
As for the plaintiff: I wonder if he read the news reports at the time those promises were allegedly being made. because if he had, he probably would have realized that the Astros were decidedly not content to stick with the current slate of employees going forward …
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.