Mariners, Michael Saunders avoid arbitration

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Michael Saunders and the Mariners have avoided arbitration with a one-year contract. Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times says the deal is worth $2.3 million for the 27-year-old outfielder’s first season of arbitration eligibility.

Saunders hit .236 with 12 homers and a .720 OPS in 132 games for the Mariners last season, which doesn’t look like much but was actually above-average production considering the ballpark he called home. He had similar numbers in 2012, so this season will be a crucial one for Saunders in Seattle with another raise due in 2015.

Giants making Brandon Belt available

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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Giants have made first baseman Brandon Belt available in a trade and says that several teams have expressed interest in him.

Which is kind of weird, really.

Belt turns 31 early next season. He hit .253/.342/.414 with 14 homers over 112 games last year due to a knee injury and time lost to an appendectomy. He has a history of concussions and has averaged only 115 games over the last five seasons. Oh, and makes $48 million over the next three years.

Yes, he could be a very useful player if healthy, but taking on that kind of money, even a part of that money, when many very affordable first base/DH options are out there on the market makes little sense to me. Matt Adams. Justin Bour. Lucas Duda. As good as Belt? No, I don’t think so. But way cheaper and requiring less of a commitment.

But hey, rumors are rumors. Let a thousand flowers bloom.