Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reports that the Felix Hernandex deal is done. Jack Zduriencik has announced it’s complete and Hernandez is taking his physical while we speak. There will be a press conference tomorrow.
There were concerns about Hernandez’s elbow, but obviously they weren’t big ones. Baker reports that Zduriencik praised Hernandez’s agents, which suggests that they were flexible about language in the deal to give the team some amount of protection in the event of future injury. But given that this got taken care of in the space of a couple of days, it likely wasn’t a major concession.
Hernandez, then, stands to make $175 million over the next seven years, starting in 2013. He is the highest paid pitcher in baseball both on a per annum basis and on an overall contract basis.
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.