Recent news out of North Augusta, South Carolina is that former Blue Jays All-Star left fielder Michael Saunders has joined the Atlanta Braves organization as the Single-A manager for the Augusta Green Jackets.
Saunders, joined Devon Travis who also was brought into the Braves organization by former Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos. After playing his first six years of Major League Baseball in the Seattle Mariners organization, Anthopoulos acquired Saunders for the 2015 season for J.A. Happ. Saunders would injure himself ahead of the first season, but would have his career year in 2016 when he was selected to his only All-Star appearance in a campaign that he posted 32 doubles and 24 home runs while posting a slash line of .253/.338/.478.
Saunders would not be able to replicate that season and bounced around the league, as in the calendar year of 2018 he would sign with five different teams after short stints and being released. He would become a minor league coach in the Braves organization in 2020 in their Alternate Training Site and now holds his first official manager position.
The Green Jackets season is scheduled to start on May 6, so Saunders will continue to work with the Braves prospects at the organizations training site. Augusta does not play in the same league as any of the Blue Jays minor league teams so he won’t come up against any Toronto prospects.
The Victoria, British Columbian native is still just 34-years of age and could have a long future in managing. One has to wonder if he could potentially lead future Canadian Teams in World Baseball Classics and possibly the Olympics.
Anthopolous continues to show loyalty to his ex-players as he has brought in both Jose Bautista and Josh Donaldson to play for the Braves, while now adding two players to the minor league system as coaches. The question now arises, what role is Edwin Encarnacion going to take in the Atlanta system? Coach or Player