Twins “continue to await word” from Joe Saunders

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It’s been two weeks since Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said he thought Joe Saunders was close to signing and yet the left-hander remains a free agent.

Minnesota has been linked to Saunders a lot recently and Twins president Dave St. Peter told me himself that they have plenty of payroll room available for a late signing, but Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com has an update on the Twins’ pursuit:

The Twins continue to await word from pitcher Joe Saunders’ agent, Greg Genske. The belief internally continues to be that Saunders prefers to be somewhere else. But it’s possible he’ll soon run out of options. The Twins want Saunders on a one-year deal, but could be willing to go to two years.

That jibes with what Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun speculated earlier this week, which is that if Saunders can only get a one-year deal he’ll probably just decide to re-sign with the Orioles.

Dominic Smith likely to start the season at Triple-A

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Following the Mets’ recent signing of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that fellow first baseman Dominic Smith is likely to start the season with Triple-A Las Vegas. That is contingent, of course, on the veteran Gonzalez’s ability to remain healthy, which isn’t a guarantee.

Smith, 22, struggled last season, batting .198/.262/.395 in 183 plate appearances. The Mets have also expressed concern about Smith’s conditioning. Puma reported in November that as a result of better dietary choices and a daily exercise regimen, Smith had already lost 11-12 pounds.

Gonzalez, 35, didn’t exactly have a stellar 2017 campaign. Along with battling back issues, Gonzalez hit .242/.287/.355 in 252 PA. That the Mets’ Plan A is to go with Gonzalez over Smith says something about their confidence in Smith.