Joe Saunders has been released from Triple-A by the Royals, who’re the fourth organization to cut bait on the veteran left-hander this season.
Saunders allowed 17 runs in 18.2 innings after signing a minor-league deal with the Royals three weeks ago and overall this season he has a 5.18 ERA in the minors and a 6.13 ERA in the majors.
Saunders has said previously that he’s only interested in starting, but at this point he’s presumably running out of teams willing to give him that opportunity and, as a 33-year-old with extreme platoon splits for his entire career, switching to the bullpen could get him back to the majors much more easily.
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Two guys who spent some time in the bigs but who have found more success in Asia have decided to stay in Asia.
Darin Ruf has re-signed with the Samsung Lions of KBO, per MLB Trade Rumors. Ruf, who played five years for the Phillies but didn’t really have the numbers to stick, has stuck just fine in Korea. In two seasons in the offense-friendly league he has hit 64 homers and has put up a line of .322/.412/.587. His new deal with Samsung will pay him a guaranteed $1.4 million with $300K in potential bonuses.
The other guy — Nick Martinez — has signed a $2.5 million plus incentives deal to stay with the Nippon Ham Fighters of NPB. The former Rangers starter went 10-11 with a 3.51 ERA for the Fighters in 2018. He was 17-30 with a 4.77 ERA in four seasons with Texas.
Maybe Ruf and Martinez still have U.S. major league dreams, but guaranteed bucks in the Korean and Japanese majors is better than signing minor league deals and riding busses here.