David Schoenfield is one of my favorite baseball writers, but I saw this in his latest post and just can’t agree:
The more I think about the report out of Miami, the more I think we’ve seen the last of Alex Rodriguez in a major league uniform.
Schoenfield is not the only one to say this today. Several writers — many who should probably know better — have declared A-Rod’s career over today. And I simply do not see how we get from here to there via any reasonable path.
As I noted earlier today, the Yankees are not going to void A-Rod’s deal. If they try it won’t work so they probably won’t even try. That leaves A-Rod with five years and $114 million left on his contract. He’s not walking away from that.
What might happen? He may get suspended for 50 games, after which he would come back. He may — if the Yankees simply get totally disgusted and hysterical about things — get released. In which case 29 teams can have Alex Rodriguez’s services for the league minimum. Back to Schoenfield:
When he was on the field last year for the 122 games he played in the regular season, Rodriguez was still reasonably productive, hitting .272/.353/.430.
That, I think, is the alpha and omega here. It’s not anywhere close to being worth his contract, but it’s quite useful from someone making almost no money. He’s not some monumental flake like Manny Ramirez. If healthy, he even has some defensive value. Someone would take a chance on him. The only factor would be the strength of his hip, not his status as a media pariah.
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.