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.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic confirms a report from journalist Américo Celado that White Sox catcher Welington Castillo will be suspended 80 games for violating baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement. Castillo was believed to have used a steroid, but according to Rosenthal, the substance was not a steroid. More details should come on Thursday.
Castillo, 31, entered Wednesday’s action batting .270/.314/.477 with six home runs and 15 RBI in 118 plate appearances. He has gotten the bulk of the work behind the plate, backed up by Omar Narváez.
Castillo’s absence will likely prompt the White Sox to call up Kevan Smith from Triple-A Charlotte. Smith battled an ankle injury in March and April, so he got a late start to the season. In 102 PA at Triple-A, he has hit .283/.343/.457.