Phillies sign Reid Brignac

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Philadelphia has signed one-time top prospect turned journeyman Reid Brignac to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training, reports Jim Salisburg of CSNPhilly.com.

Brignac was a second-round draft pick in 2004 and ranked among Baseball America‘s top 100 prospects in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010, but he’s now 27 years old with a lifetime .221 batting average and .573 OPS in 302 games as a big leaguer.

On the other hand Brignac is a solid defensive shortstop and second baseman, so the Phillies could give him a long look as a utility man.

(As an aside: I know a guy who pitched 10 seasons in the minors for a few different organizations. He once told me that Brignac was the best player he played against. Moral of the story? Baseball is friggin hard, man.)

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.