We’ve talked a lot (too much?) (well, let’s face it, we haven’t had much else to talk about) Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion’s free agency struggles, but we haven’t talked much about Michael Saunders.
Here it is a week before Christmas and I have no idea where Saunders might end up playing next year. Very little would surprise me.
It seems funny that a guy that played in this year’s All-Star game would get so little attention in free agency, but we know that it is because of the second half of his season.
Before the All-Star break, Saunders was hitting .298/.372/.551 with 16 home runs and 42 RBI. After he hit .178/.282/.357 with 8 home run and 15 RBI.
And it isn’t like it was a gradual drop in production. In his last 10 games before the All-Star break, Michael had 15 hits in 42 at bats, a .357 average. His first 10 after the break, 5 for 33, a .151 average.
You almost must believe there was an injury in there. If there was....someone really should talk to players about trying to play through injuries. I know we admire guys for ‘gutting it out’ but if you aren’t helping the team (and with Saunder’s defense a .638 OPS isn’t helping the team), you really should sit.
I would think it had something to do with pain in his knee.
He was one of the few Jays to hit well in the playoffs: .381/.409/.643.
My other thought....I know with me, when I start thinking I have something figured out, that’s when things fall apart. I always think that Pride is the one of the seven deadly that gets punished quickly. I find that, when I start thinking I’ve gotten good at something, that’s when God or whoever decides to punish me by taking any talent I have away. I find if I think I must work at whatever it is, all is good. When I think ‘Ok I got this’, then it goes to hell.
It’s possible it is just me, but I do wonder if being in the All-Star game played with his mind a bit.
Anyway, I have no idea where he’ll land. If I’m considering signing him, I’d need him to play DH or first base because I don’t like his defense in the outfield (though it is possible that his defense will improve with another year separating him from his knee injury). Most teams are set at DH/1B. If they aren’t, there’s still Bautista and Encarnacion out there, and I’d rather have either one them over Saunders.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Saunder’s isn’t signed until spring training starts. Maybe until someone gets hurt. But, of course, once I say that, he’ll be signed before this post goes live. Apparently, the Orioles and Clevelanders have talked to him, but it doesn’t seem like he is close to signing anyway.
I wouldn’t be against the Blue Jays signing him. I’d rather Pearce in the outfield and Saunders at first, but the Jays might have different ideas. And, if I was going to sign him, there would be a very careful medical check on him.
He seems like a great guy, and I do like that he was proud to be a Blue Jay. He seems far more understanding than I would have been about the stupidity of having a sprinkler head placed where baseball players are baseballing. It certainly hurt his career and his potential for future earnings. Injuries happen, but that one seems the definition of negligence. A baseball player’s career is short, losing a year is a big thing. But, I guess, it is better for Saunders to keep it in the past and look to the future.
Give us your best guess where Saunders ends up and when he signs.