Chiba Lotte Marines about to post Tsuyoshi Nishioka for MLB teams

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According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, the Chiba Lotte Marines are about to post Tsuyoshi Nishioka for MLB teams. Beverly Hills Sports Council will be his representation stateside.

Nishioka, 26, led Japan’s Pacific League with a .346 batting average, 121 runs scored and 206 hits this past season.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports speculates that the posting free could reach $15-20 million in a thin market for free agent shortstops. That sounds like an awful lot for someone who Patrick Newman of FanGraphs used in the same sentence as Ryan Theriot last week. Remember, in addition to the posting fee, the winning team would have to negotiate a contract with Nishioka.

We learned last week that the Dodgers are Nishioka’s preferred landing spot and that the team is known to have scouted the player. Ironically, Nishioka could be a fit at second base if the team non-tenders Theriot.

Royals sign Michael Saunders to a minor-league deal

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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.