Brett Wallace clears waivers, gets camp invite

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Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that first baseman Brett Wallace has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Oklahoma City. He will be in Astros camp this spring as a non-roster invitee, hoping to earn back his 40-man roster spot.

Wallace was designated for assignment by the Houston front office last week to make room for newly-signed starting pitcher Jerome Williams.

Wallace was selected 13th overall by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2008 MLB Amateur Draft and was the centerpiece of a trade for Matt Holliday one year later, but he’s a .242/.313/.391 career hitter in 1,077 major league plate appearances and will turn 28 years old this summer. Hope is running out.

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.