Mariners outfielder Michael Saunders is back from the disabled list after missing the past two-and-a-half weeks with a sprained right shoulder.
Saunders wasn’t quite ready to rejoin Seattle’s lineup when first eligible, but is expected to draw most of the starts in center field with Franklin Gutierrez out.
Prior to injuring his shoulder Saunders started mostly in right field, hitting .286 with one homer and an .833 OPS in nine games, but he has plenty of experience in center field including 107 starts there last year.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels and reliever Cody Allen are in agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The value of the contract is not yet known.
Allen, 30, was looking for an opportunity to close and the Angels can certainly provide that. He will likely be the favorite to break camp as the closer. 2018 was the roughest year of his career, however, as he finished with a 4.70 ERA, 27 saves, and a 80/33 K/BB ratio in 67 innings. Among Allen’s six full seasons, his 27.7 strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate represented career-worsts. FanGraphs also shows him losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.
The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John surgery early last season and he likely won’t return until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker, who handled save situations in Middleton’s place, was non-tendered by the Angels in November and ended up signing with the Twins. The closer’s role is Allen’s to lose, it seems.