After four terrible seasons Kurt Suzuki had to settle for a one-year, $2.75 million deal this offseason, but now he’s having a career-year for the Twins and made his first All-Star team at age 30.
Not surprisingly the Twins thought a contract extension was a topic worth broaching with Suzuki, but Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press says those talks didn’t go very far at all:
According to two people with direct knowledge, the Twins and Dan Lozano, Suzuki’s agent, had exploratory talks about extending the catcher’s expiring contract. Establishing fair contract parameters, however, appears to be a challenge as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches.
Armed with a combined on-base/slugging percentage of .753 — 62 points higher than his career rate — Suzuki must weigh the security of putting down roots in the Twin Cities after being traded in August the past two seasons. If Suzuki can maintain his offensive resurgence for another couple of months, he could cash in this winter on his second pass through the free-agent market.
This season Suzuki is hitting .305 with a .753 OPS in 82 games.
Last season Suzuki hit .232 with a .627 OPS in 94 games.
Combined during the previous four seasons Suzuki hit .237 with a .650 OPS in 477 games.
It’s definitely possible that Suzuki will cash in big as a free agent following the season, since decent-hitting catchers are forever tough to find and his defensive reputation has always been very good, but it’s also hard to blame the Twins for not wanting to break the bank on a 30-year-old having a career-year after looking washed up for 500 games.
And if extension talks continue to go nowhere, the Twins may look to shop Suzuki before July 31.
With Game 6 of the NLCS just hours away, the Dodgers will opt for a lefty-heavy lineup against right-hander Kyle Hendricks. Batting leadoff is rookie outfielder Andrew Toles, who made one appearance at the top of the lineup during the 2016 season. The Cubs, meanwhile, will bench Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.. This will be Almora’s first start of the playoffs, and while he has yet to face Kershaw in October, his right-handed bat could play well against the lefty at the bottom of the lineup.
Game time is scheduled for 8 PM EDT; lineups are below.
1. Andrew Toles (L) LF
6. Wilson Contreras (R) C
8. Albert Almora Jr. (R) RF
9. Kyle Hendricks (R) RHP
UPDATE, 5:08 PM EDT: Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon will not rule out a World Series appearance for Kyle Schwarber if the Cubs advance. MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports that Schwarber could play through a simulated game on Sunday, during which the Cubs’ medical and baseball staff would evaluate his chances for a late season return. If he does play, it will likely be in a pinch-hitting or DH role and not on the field.
Cubs’ outfielder Kyle Schwarber will return to the playing field on Saturday, per a report by the Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzales. The club’s prized left fielder suffered a season-ending injury when he collided with Dexter Fowler back in April, tearing both his ACL and LCL and undergoing intensive knee surgery later that month.
While no nerve damage was discovered during the surgery, the Cubs have kept a close eye on Schwarber during his recovery and put a kibosh on any part-time or full-time role with the team until the spring of 2017. Getting a few reps in during the Arizona Fall League appears to be the last step in the 23-year-old’s rehab process. He will be part of the Mesa Solar Sox’ ‘taxi squad,’ making him eligible for games on Wednesdays and Saturdays only.
Schwarber batted .246/.355/.487 with 16 in 69 games with the Cubs during his debut season in 2015. He will be added to the Mesa Solar Sox roster in advance of their set against the Salt River Rafters on Saturday evening.