Rockies agree to a two-year extension with Jorge De La Rosa

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The Rockies announced that the club has agreed to a two-year extension with starter Jorge De La Rosa through the 2016 season. The figures are not yet known, and the deal is still pending league approval. (Update: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that it’s $25 million over two years. The contract includes no options.)

De La Rosa drew some trade interest in July, but the Rockies preferred to keep their 33-year-old pitcher with the intent of eventually agreeing to an extension. He would have been eligible for free agency after the season. The lefty joined the Rockies at the start of the 2008 season in the trade that sent reliever Ramon Ramirez to the Royals.

De La Rosa is currently 13-10 with a 4.26 ERA and a 119/57 K/BB ratio in 160 2/3 innings over 28 starts this season. It’s disappointing compared to his 2013 numbers — 16-6, 3.49, 112/62 — but the Rockies expect him to lead their starting rotation ahead of some younger arms over the next two seasons.

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. 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.