Seattle Mariners Expected to Shop Michael Saunders
Is the Condor a Gone-dor in Seattle? According to ESPN beat writer Jerry Crasnick:
Michael Saunders turns 28 on November 19th and is still young enough to have an impact on a Major League team.
But since the end of the 2014 season it has become abundantly clear that that Major League team won’t likely be the Seattle Mariners.
After the season was over, GM Jack Zduriencik and manager Lloyd McClendon were cited criticizing Saunders for his lack of conditions, suggesting his injury history was a direct result of this lack of effort. Then it became a back and forth between the Mariners organization and Saunders with his agent.
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There is still value in Michael Saunders’ outfield defense and bat. In his six partial seasons with the Mariners, Saunders had a .231/.301/.381 triple slash line. Over 263 plate appearances in 2014, he hit .273/.341/.450 with 8 home runs and 34 RBI. He was valuated at 1.9 WAR despite his lack of playing time.
His list of injuries are extensive. But he won’t be a free agent until 2017 and could be a solid 4th outfielder as long as he stays healthy.
Teams will be interested in Michael Saunders if the Mariners do choose to actively shop him. What he will net in return, though, is a major question mark. The Mariners could look to trade him straight up for an outfielder or first basemen who has struggled and could use a change of scenery. I don’t expect a guy like Saunders to net any major developmental talent or a quality Major League starter.
But if the relationship is as fractured as it sounds, Saunders really does need a change of scenery. And if the Condor does get traded, it only exacerbates the need for outfielders in the Mariners organization.
Only time will tell if the M’s send Saunders elsewhere. But if they do, they can’t sell him for dirt cheap to see him thrive and excel someplace else. The Mariners are too good at doing that sort of thing already.