Philadelphia Phillies Close to Deal with Michael Saunders

The Philadelphia Phillies are close to adding a corner outfield power bat in Michael Saunders.

The Philadelphia Phillies have added some veterans this offseason, on the cheap, to help their younger players develop. They added Joaquin Benoit and Pat Neshek to the bullpen and Howie Kendrick to play some left field. Now, it appears they went hunting in a bigger part of the market by adding outfielder Michael Saunders

With the Toronto Blue Jays close to bringing back Jose Bautista, they probably didn’t have the money to keep Saunders too after getting Steve Pearce and Kendrys Morales in free agency.

Saunders made his first career All-Star team last year, hitting .253 while setting career highs in homers (24), OPS (.815) and tying his career high with 57 RBI.

After playing excellent ball in the first half, he really struggled in the second half, hitting just .178 with eight homers over his last 58 games.

Kendrick and Saunders represent placeholders and quite possibly some good trade chips at the deadline in July. If teams are looking for bats they don’t have to commit long-term to, they could ask the Phillies about either player.

Saunders gives the Phillies time for their younger outfielders on the way up. Aaron Altherr is athletic and missed a ton of time last season due to a wrist injury and never seemed to quite get it going after that.

Two of their top prospects are outfielders who are knocking on the door. Roman Quinn came up for a cup of coffee last season and has a ton of speed, stealing 36 bases while hitting .302 in the minors last year. Nick Williams, who they got in the Cole Hamels trade, is now on the 40-man roster. Dylan Cozens hit 40 homers last season in AA and if he continues to hit for power at the AAA level could find himself in the majors at some point.

The Phillies waited out the corner outfield market and instead of giving something up for a guy like Jay Bruce, all they did was give up money to sign Saunders. It’s a move that may help them be more competitive in 2017 and give them another way to get more pieces for the future.

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