The Roy-Oswalt-to-the-Phillies talk came pretty fast and furious last night, as did the attendant Jasyon-Werth trade chatter as well. Lost in all of that was a series of tweets from Buster Olney who has heard that a possible landing spot for Werth could be Tampa Bay.
Olney’s thinking is that moving Werth makes sense for the Philly payroll if they’re going to bring Oswalt on, though he doesn’t say how Werth is at all affordable for the Rays. Still, they need a bat and Philly seems rather hysterical right now, so it may be a good time for Tampa Bay — or anyone — to pry Werth away from the Phillies on favorable terms.
Whether this is Buster merely speculating or based on some actual intelligence is unclear, but right now I wouldn’t put anything past the Phillies, because the Braves are starting to leave them in the dust, and they’re clearly freaked.
Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday.
After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.
With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.