The Mariners made their fourth round of Spring Training cuts today, and among the three players cut was Michael Saunders. Saunders is a good prospect. He’s an extremely talented young player that’s going to be ready to make his mark on the big leagues sooner rather than later. However, once this team acquired Milton Bradley, and even more so after they signed Eric Byrnes, it was obvious that Saunders wasn’t going to have a place on this team. While it’s clear that Saunders has more upside than someone like Ryan Langerhans, there’s virtually no difference in current talent between them at this point (if any), and Saunders could very well still benefit from one last stint in triple-A.
I’m personally really high on Michael Saunders, and a few months ago I was really hoping that he would make this team out of Spring Training. But that was when the next best candidate for the left fielder’s job was Ryan Langerhans and everyone was talking about signing Jason Bay. Now, though, left field doesn’t look nearly as bad – Milton Bradley, if he stays healthy, is an adequate defender, and an above average bat. Eric Byrnes is a plus defender who can hit lefties. Ryan Langerhans is a plus defender that isn’t horrible offensively and can hit righties. At this point, the Mariners are going to be just fine without Michael Saunders, and that allows them to give him a little bit more time in the minors.
He’s going to get here eventually, but for now this is probably the best scenario for him.