Adam Jones: “I would slap Jim Palmer around”

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File this under “good-natured jab,” not “trash talk,” but it’s still fun:

What would happen if Adam Jones faced Jim Palmer in his prime?  Jones answered that and many more questions in a live online Q&A with MASNSports.com‘s Amber Theoharis on Wednesday afternoon.

“I would slap Jim Palmer around,” Jones quickly responded.  ”I told Palmer that,” he laughed with Amber.

Jones added that Palmer would have more difficulty today with umpires using a smaller zone. “They had that chest high strike zone back then.”

So he’s being funny, yes, but he also has a good point about that high strike.  I came of baseball age when Jim Palmer was still dealing and I can’t remember how many times I heard Ernie Harwell say “a strike at the letters …”  The only time you ever see a strike at the letters called these days is on a 3-0 count when the hitter makes it clear from the time the pitcher sets that he has no intention of swinging.

The zone has changed pretty radically over the years. Just one of those things a lot of people forget when talking about the crazy offense we saw in the 90s and 2000s.

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.