UPDATE: 2:30 p.m. ET Monday
According to Ken Rosenthal, the deal is worth $9 million guaranteed over one season with a second-year option:
1:00 p.m. ET Monday:
Former Toronto Blue Jays’ outfielder Michael Saunders is close to a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, according to a report from Jon Morosi.
This news coincides with with multiple reports that Jose Bautista and the Toronto Blue Jays are nearing an agreement. Some reports have indicated a two-year guaranteed deal while others have suggested a one-year deal with an option for a second year.
Over the weekend, Michael Saunders was at the Baseball Canada banquet in Toronto — decked out in his unofficial Canadian uniform (red plaid shirt and blue jeans) — and said that he hoped to return to the Blue Jays.
It is likely that Saunders gets a full workload with the Phillies, and depending on how their lineup shakes out come April, Saunders could be put in more run-producing spots than he might have been in Toronto’s order.
If the deal does come out to be for one year, that may end up being beneficial for Saunders as he’ll have an opportunity to squash any doubts about his weak second half in 2016. Prior to the All-Star break, it looked as it Saunders might be positioning himself for a qualifying offer before his value diminished.
While Philadelphia is not a playoff favourite entering this season, they have made a series of quality moves — Saunders among them. If the team is not in contention come late July and Saunders is playing well, he could conceivably represent the ideal trade chip for contenders seeking a strong left-handed bat.
In his one full season with the Blue Jays (2016) after a freak knee injury cost him most of the year prior, Saunders hit .253 with a career-high 24 home runs and .815 OPS.