Joel Hanrahan is an exceptional 76-for-84 saving games for the Pirates the last two years, but he isn’t drawing as much interest around the league as the team has hoped, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Rob Biertempfel.
The Pirates recently shopped Hanrahan to a pair of American League teams, only to get the response that neither was interested. They’ve also reportedly talked to the Dodgers about him without getting any bites.
Hanarhan is entering his last year of arbitration and is likely to make around $7 million before becoming a free agent next winter. He posted ERAs of 1.83 in 2011 and 2.72 in 2012. The Pirates are believed to be looking for starting pitching in return for him, though that would mean further gutting their bullpen. They traded Brad Lincoln to the Blue Jays in July and Chris Resop to the A’s before the non-tender deadline, plus they look like long shots to re-sign top setup man Jason Grilli.
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. MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan adds that Saunders will make $1.5 million upon reaching the majors, with a potential $500,000 in bonuses.
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.