Jhonny Peralta open to returning to Tigers as left fielder

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John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press has the story from Boston:

Jhonny Peralta is a free agent, and the Tigers have filled his position with Jose Iglesias.

So early this morning, in a corner of the cramped clubhouse after the season ended, Peralta was asked, “Have you thought about telling the Tigers you would be willing to play left field” — his newly adopted position — “in order to stay here?”

Peralta said: “There’s a chance for sure, yeah, because I like the organization here. Do I want to be here? Yeah, I want to be here.”

The problem with that is corner outfield prospect Nick Castellanos is just about ready for everyday playing time at the major league level.

And the Tigers also have Andy Dirks, who is arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter.

Peralta — a client of SFX — will likely make more money if he pitches himself as a shortstop anyway. The 31-year-old batted .303/.358/.457 in 107 games this year before being hit with a 50-game PED suspension.

It’s a safe bet — unless there’s some sort of injury or trade — that Jhonny won’t be back in Detroit.

Report: Braves extend Kurt Suzuki

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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.”

Mikie Mahtook is likely done for the season

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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.