Breaking: Blue Jays Michael Saunders out until All-Star Break


Some shocking news out of Dunedin this morning, as newly acquired Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Michael Saunders has torn his meniscus in his left knee and will be out of action until the All-Star Break. Shi Davidi of Sportsnet was the first to break the gut-wrenching news via Twitter.

The loss of Michael Saunders will be significant for the Toronto Blue Jays. Acquired earlier this winter to fill the void left by departing free agent Melky Cabrera, Saunders was expected to be a significant portion of the left-handed balance in a line-up that leans heavily to the right. Additionally, he was thought to provide a substantial defensive upgrade in left field.

Acquired from the Seattle Mariners in a trade that sent lefty J.A. Happ to the M’s, the 28-year-old Saunders is a lifetime .231/.301/.384 hitter, but is seen as having significant potential to break-out, especially in a much more hitter friendly environment. However, he’s had some trouble staying on the field in his career, playing in just 78 games in 2014, and also missing significant time during the 2011 season.

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The most pressing matter could be the loss of depth at what is already a thin position. Saunders, along with Kevin Pillar, Dalton Pompey, and Jose Bautista are the only outfielders on the Blue Jays 40-man roster. That leaves Toronto will the need to evaluate non-roster invitees Ezequiel Carrera, Chris Dickerson, and Caleb Gindl. Andy Dirks also remains a possibility, but considering he wasn’t invited to Major League camp due to the need to further rehab his back, that remains a long-shot.

If there is any good news in the matter, the injury occurred on just the fourth day of camp, giving the Blue Jays plenty of time to figure out how to move forward. They could continue to evaluate the internal options mentioned above, with both Dickerson and Carrera having significant Major League experience. With neither projecting as a starter, they could platoon with Kevin Pillar in left field, or serve as a potential fourth outfielder until Saunders returns in July.

The other option is the team could go out and acquire an outfielder via trade. With some money saved for such occasions after having failed on the relief market, the team could take on a small salary, but it isn’t likely to pony up the cost, either in prospects or dollars, to acquire a significant piece.

Instead, the team will evaluate its internal candidates and likely keep a close eye on some of the competitions in other camps, particularly on those that could have waiver wire implications. That could lead to a temporary solution until Saunders returns

Oh, and if you want the silver lining from the Saunders injury, it comes in the form of at least one winning tweet.

Leave it Blue Jays fans to poke fun at those always complaining about the turf.

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