Kurt Suzuki stays in Minnesota, signs extension with Twins

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All month the assumption has been that the Twins would either sign Kurt Suzuki to a contract extension or trade the 30-year-old impending free agent in the middle of his career-year.

Minutes after the trade deadline passed Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Minnesota has indeed signed the All-Star catcher to an extension, with Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports saying it’s a two-year deal with a vesting option for 2017.

Signed for $2.75 million this offseason, Suzuki made his first All-Star team on the way to hitting .304 with a .753 OPS in 89 games. Of course, the reason he was available so cheaply is that Suzuki hit just .237 with a .650 OPS in 477 games from 2010-2013.

UPDATE: Suzuki will get $6 million in both 2015 and 2016 and the 2017 vesting option is for the same amount, so the money is certainly reasonable enough, but for better or worse extending a 30-year-old player in the midst of a career-year instead of cashing him in for prospects is a very Twins-style move.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves