Baseball announces expanded pension benefits for players who retired between 1947 and 1980

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Prior to 1980, players were vested in baseball’s pension plan after completing at least four years of service time. Since the 1980 season, all players are vested after just one day of service in the majors (as your service time increases, you get greater benefits).

Baseball and the MLBPA announced today that players who retired during the earlier period but had fewer than four years of service time will be getting retroactive benefits:

Players who retired between January 1, 1947 and January 1, 1980 with no retirement benefits for their Major League Service will receive an annual payment of up to $10,000, jointly funded by the Commissioner’s Office and the MLBPA. The collective bargaining parties have committed to these payments for an initial period of two years. Payments beyond the initial period will be discussed in collective bargaining.

That’s not a ton of money, but for the most part, guys who fell into that less-than-four-year hole didn’t make a lot of money either.

Regardless, it’s good to see Major League Baseball at least trying to take care of its own.

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.