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Wednesday Bantering: Blue Jays trying to sign Michael Saunders

Your morning update for everything Blue Jays.

Philadelphia Phillies v Boston Red Sox Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images

The Blue Jays are attempting to sign Michael Saunders following his release by the Philadelphia Phillies early last week, Bob McCown of Sportsnet reports. Saunders, if signed, would likely spend time in triple-A Buffalo, “at least for a while,” McCown writes.

Saunders, an All-Star with the Blue Jays in 2016, hit .205 in exactly 200 plate appearances with the Phillies in 2017. Saunders’ offensive WAR of -0.6 is the lowest he has posted since 2011.

The role that Saunders would fill with the team is clear — should he make the major-league roster, he would provide depth in left field. Still, it seems as if the alternatives Toronto currently has (Steve Pearce, Ezequiel Carrera, Dwight Smith Jr., etc.) would provide a higher level of both defense and offense.

The Blue Jays designated Jason Grilli for assignment yesterday, recalling Chris Smith and activating Ezequiel Carrera while optioning Dwight Smith Jr.

Grilli, a 40-year-old reliever, posted a 6.97 ERA with the Blue Jays in 2017. Over 20.2 innings, he gave up nine home runs and walked nine while striking out 23. Grilli had a 3.64 ERA last season, but his FIP in both 2016 and 2017 indicate he faced good luck in both seasons.

Carrera had been on the disabled list since June 14th with a fractured foot. Carrera fouled a pitch off of his foot in the game on June 13th.

Chris Smith, in his major league debut yesterday, pitching the ninth inning, allowing one hit and not walking a batter.

To explain the reasoning behind removing Dwight Smith Jr. from the 25-man roster but maintaining Ian Parmley, manager John Gibbons said that Smith wouldn’t have had much playing time with Carrera back. However, Parmley allows for late-inning speed and defense.

In an update on the attempt to ban the Chief Wahoo logo in Ontario, MLB is attempting to dismiss the case. The plaintiff in the case, Douglas Cardinal, issued the following statement.

“With this request, it is abundantly clear that Major League Baseball does not want scrutiny of the racist and discriminatory nature of the Cleveland team’s name and logo. If the league wants my complaint to go away, it simply has to make that discriminatory name and logo go away. Otherwise, I’ll continue to fight.”

The Blue Jays lost to the Baltimore Orioles last night, failing to capitalize on two scoring opportunities. Joe Biagini gave up three earned runs over 5.1 innings pitched, but struggled completing frames after getting the first two outs successfully. You can read our full recap here.

Today, Toronto will play their second game of the three-game set against the Orioles at 7:07 with Marcus Stroman on the mound. Wade Miley, who has a 7.81 ERA in his past six starts, will start for the Orioles. You can watch the game on TVA Sports and Sportsnet or listen to it on Sportsnet 590.

AL East Recap:

Other notes:

  • Marcus Stroman was listed by Evan Longoria in his piece on the five toughest pitchers in the AL East.
  • Red Sox manager John Farrell has been suspended one game for arguing with an umpire in Monday’s game. You can watch the full argument here.
  • The Braves are showing interest in Rays pitcher Chris Archer. Let’s just hope he gets out of the league somehow.

Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkColley.