6:38pm: Saunders can earn $1.5MM on the MLB roster with as much as $500K in available incentives, Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com tweets.
3:36pm: The Royals have announced the signing of outfielder Michael Saunders to a minor-league deal. It seems that the recent agreement between Saunders and the Pirates has been torn up.
When Saunders put pen to paper with Pittsburgh, he was slated to battle with Daniel Nava and others for a spot in the outfield mix. But the Bucs’ recent acquisition of Corey Dickerson left Saunders without much of a path to the MLB roster.
Saunders’s agent, Barry Meister, says the Pirates allowed his client to pursue other opportunities after the new development, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (Twitter links). Meister says the team “should be commended for their player-friendly, honest and transparent behavior.”
At the end of the day, then, Saunders will enter a different but perhaps even more promising situation in Kansas City. He’ll still need to earn his way onto the roster, but there’s a solid chance he can do so with a good performance this spring. Outside of Alex Gordon, the Royals are thin in terms of lefty outfield bats; Saunders will presumably compete with non-roster invitees Cody Asche and Tyler Collins in camp for a chance at a role in the majors.
Saunders is coming off of a miserable 2017 season and has a long history of injury troubles. But he has had some quality campaigns in the majors, including a 2016 effort with the Blue Jays in which he posted a .253/.338/.478 batting line over 558 plate appearances. At his best, he has also graded well in the field and on the bases, so it could be that the 31-year-old still has some productive seasons ahead of him.
Hmm that’s not LoMo
Must have “failed” the physical.
I thought so too but re-read his agent’s reasoning in the last paragraph.
Still strange… to say the least.
What’s strange? Pirates have no need for him with Dickerson now on the squad. Makes perfect sense for both parties to part ways.
Usually a deal’s a deal. It would take extenuating circumstances for a team to tear it up — yes even minor league deals.
Yes nothing strange and funny, the agent commends the Pirates for their communication with the player and agent. Kind of counter to what has been reported by the media……
It’s a minors pact it’s not like it was a guaranteed majors deal.
Alriiiight. There’s that CF we’ve been waiting for DM to grab!
He is not a CF! Wish he was!
I guess you missed the sarcasm there. Long, slow years at the K coming up.
Minor league deal, dude. Settle. Good low risk pickup.
Perhaps so. Been long and slow before. Hopefully won’t be as long this time!
Wow. Good guy Pirates with the bro move
Pirates realized they could get Dickerson and sent Saunders way
5 year anniversary of “this is the year he finally breaks out”
Congrats KC. You just acquired a player not likely to make the Pittsburgh bench. That this is an upgrade does not bode well.
a minor league contact.
Reminds me of the Travis Snider minor league deal a year or two ago. Maybe he does well but more likely than not he is a body to man right field and go for a higher draft pick
Jeff nowhere in your article does it say that “quality 2016 campaign” was an All Star campaign.
Granted he had probably the biggest 2nd half collapse in MLB history, but going from All Star to minor league deal in less than a year (Blue Jays, 2017) you can’t help but root for guys like these.
(Now All Star, less than 2 years ago)
he signed with the Phillies in 2017, worth 8 million, it’s been 2 years now
He signed a one year $8 million deal with a $9 million club option for 2018 season, with the Phillies, in 2017.
That $9 million 2018 team option was never exercised by the Phillies and he signed a minor league deal with… the Toronto Blue Jays, in 2017, less than a year since his 2016 All Star appearance.
In parenthesis, on the bottom I put, currently less than 2 years since Michael Saunders’ last All Star appearance
Considering he has had injury issues, none of this is “strange” or weird. A lot of recent all star caliber players are signing on with minor league deals to get to a camp to show they can still play and contribute. Has been going on for years. Guys come in as non roster players, prove they are healthy, beat out someone for the roster spot and a MLB contract kicks in.. Nothing new here. Calm down. Enjoy the weekend. Mr. Saunders is, he now has a chance to compete for a roster spot with the Royals. Much more than he had yesterday
I just meant “uncommon”… jeez
How often do you see deals of any vicinity, torn up in MLB? I’m happy Saunders was freed from previous pact, to persue a better opportunity,
But I will enjoy my weekend 🙂
Heard one of the Pirates beat writers on the radio on my way home tonight. When the Bucs offered to Saunders to sign, they told him he would be competing for,the LF job. The also told he and his agent that if things changed in the competition, they were free to look for another opportunity. The trade for,Dickerson changed the scenario to no more competition for the LF spot. His agent found a landing spot in KC so he was released. Enjoy the weekend 🙂
Definitely going into the HOF as a Pirate
Good luck Michael and please, don’t let anyone call this kid the Condor. I loathe that nickname.
Hehe, sorry, I just did.
Come on! What am I suppose to do with my Saunders Pirates jersey?
Go Hang it up with your Jaime Garcia Twins Jersey
And your Mike Piazza Marlins jersey
Piazza played five games for the Marlins batting .278, which is five more than Saunders and four more than Jaime (1 start, 3 runs, 6 2/3 innings, 7 strikeouts, Win)
But Piazza is a legend!! I love these stories. Please keep them coming.
How bout a Mike Sirotka Jays jersey?
Classy move (no sarcasm) by the Pirates to give him a chance elsewhere since the team’s needs have changed. Saunders can and may well succeed if allowed to go up exclusively against right hand pitching.
In his ‘big’ year with the Jays he was better against same-siders. Pretty even career wise.
Put both your Saunders and McCutchen jersey in the box of old memories.
Waste of John Middleton’s cabana money.
Hopefully he at least is a good 4th outfielder for the Royals.
I wish Saunders well, but boy was he a stiff in Philly.
He is awful
I don’t get this. He was on a minors deal. Dickerson is by no means a guarantee. Why not have them both come into camp and compete for a job?
Hard to buy that the pirates were doing this out of respect for a player just weeks after trading 2 of their franchise cornerstones and saying “well, it’s a business, not a charity.” Pirates have to be the biggest joke in all of baseball, if not all of professional sports. They’re a disgrace to the great Pirates teams of the past, what a shame.
Because, as reported on sports radio in Pittsburgh, when Saunders signed he was told that he would have a chance to compete for the LF starting job. The Bucs also told him that if the situation changed and they made a move that left Saunders only competing for a bench spot, the Bucs would allow him to search for another opportunity if he wanted to. When they traded for Dickerson, it was because they plan to start Dickerson, so they kept their word, and Saunders decided that he had a better chance for playing time in KC. That’s all.
Cool, so we’ll see him when KC comes through Seattle. Always like Saunders when he played here. He was treated pretty shabbily by the FO. Go Condor!
this guy is your average off the bench help he should never start. Way to inconsistent!!!