UPDATE: It’s now official.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports that the Marlins are close to signing Placido Polanco to a one-year, $2.75 million deal, which I suppose beats the other two old, not-very-good third basemen they were linked to yesterday: Miguel Tejada and Brandon Inge.
Polanco is 37 years old and has missed 112 of a possible 324 games during the past two seasons while hitting just .269 with a .323 on-base percentage and .334 slugging percentage. He hasn’t topped a .750 OPS since 2008.
Of course, most of the other available free agent third basemen are even less appealing and, if healthy, Polanco might still be capable of hitting .280 with a decent on-base percentage and above-average defense. Given his age and back problems that doesn’t seem particularly likely, but $2.75 million is a reasonable enough price tag and it’s not like the Marlins are trying to win anything in 2013 anyway.
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.