Probably a broken record right now, but the Baltimore Orioles are still in the hunt for an everyday right fielder at the Winter Meetings.
Yesterday, during the first day of the MLB Winter Meetings in Maryland, the New York Mets reached out to Baltimore about a possible trade. The trade reportedly included Orioles reliever Brad Brach for Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson. Baltimore general manager Dan Duquette wanted to keep the Orioles’ terrific bullpen intact, so he made no deal. Now another player’s name has arisen from the depths of free agency. Former Toronto Blue Jay outfielder, Michael Saunders is that player.
According to Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports, Saunders is one option that the Orioles could go after in free agency. (Twitter Link)
Saunders had an All-Star year in 2016, batting .253/.338/.478, hitting 24 home runs and driving in 57 RBI in 140 games. The issue is his consistency. At the beginning of the season, Saunders batted .298/.372/.551 with 16 home runs in 344 plate appearances. After that, he batted .178/.282/.357 with eight home runs in 214 at-bats. He also wasn’t the best of left fielders, ranking among the bottom of the Majors in DRS and UZR.
In an article from MLB Trade Rumors, Saunders could be signed at a reasonable price:
While he comes with negatives, including a checkered injury history, Saunders would add some variety to a Baltimore lineup whose only current lefty-swinging everyday player is first baseman Chris Davis. He’s also not going to sign for a bank-breaking price, with MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes projecting a three-year, $33MM deal (from the Orioles, in fact). That’s the same contract the O’s nearly signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to last offseason.
Saunders is an unproven commodity that the Orioles shouldn’t necessarily take a risk on. He got off to a hot start and eventually cooled off. The Orioles need more speed on the basepaths as well and he definitely doesn’t address this issue. He only had one steal last season. As previously stated, his glove isn’t good in the outfield either.
The Orioles cannot have another liability in the field, like they did with Mark Trumbo. Saunders brings nothing to the table that is exciting and he actually would be a downgrade as a batter in comparison.
I just can’t envision him as a feasible option for the Orioles.