Rangers have mild interest in Michael Saunders

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Rangers have mild interest in outfielder Michael Saunders and have checked in with the Mariners about a potential trade. The Mariners are expected to shop Saunders heavily this off-season.

Saunders, 28, had what would have been considered a breakout season if he had logged more playing time. He hit .273/.341/.450 with eight home runs and 34 RBI in 263 plate appearances, but missed 15 games in mid-June due to inflammation of the A/C joint in his right shoulder, and 50 games between mid-July and early September after straining his left oblique.

Saunders’ injury woes caused GM Jack Zduriencik to publicly criticize the outfielder on the radio in October. Saunders’ then-agent, Mike McCann, fired back, expressing his displeasure that Zduriencik chose to air his grievances publicly. Saunders hired new representation last week.

Former major league pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez dies in traffic accident

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Former Phillies right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez died in a traffic accident in Havana on Thursday, per reports from the El Nuevo Herald and CiberCuba. No other deaths or injuries have been reported in connection to the accident. Gonzalez was 34 years old.

The Cuban righty defected from his home country in 2013 and signed a three-year, $12 million contract with the Phillies. A bout of right shoulder tendinitis compromised his bid for a major league role, but he finally broke through to the big leagues at the tail end of the 2014 season and turned in a 6.75 ERA, 5.1 BB/9 and 8.4 SO/9 in just six outings. Another case of shoulder inflammation derailed any progress he might have made in 2015, however, and he recorded just five innings in Triple-A Lehigh Valley before the team officially released him prior to the 2016 season.

The Phillies released a statement following news of Gonzalez’s death: