Phillies Free Agency Phocus: Toronto Doesn’t Give Michael Saunders Qualifying Offer
Toronto’s decision not to tender Michael Saunders bodes well for the Phillies
Everyone knows the Phillies need to add an outfielder with a powerful bat in the middle of their line-up. It’s something they have not had since Jayson Werth and Hunter Pence, and have failed to replace with Dominic Brown, Darin Ruf, and John Mayberry Jr.
With multiple key players heading into free agency, the Toronto Blue Jays opted not to offer Michael Saunders a qualifying offer. While this does not officially end Saunders tenure in Toronto, the prospects of him returning are much slimmer.
This creates an opportunity for the Phillies to sign an All-Star corner outfielder who, at the age of 29, would be the veteran bat in Philadelphia’s lineup.
Saunders checks off multiple boxes for the Phillies. He can provide 20-30 home runs when playing the majority of his games in Citizens Bank Park, provide veteran leadership, and potentially become trade bait.
Since he has primarily played in the American League, Saunders has only played two games in Philadelphia. In five at-bats, his only hit is a solo home run. That homer was off Aaron Nola in June, and went deep into the right field seats.
One thing you do have to watch is injuries with Saunders. In 2015 he tore his meniscus after tripping over an outfield sprinkler, forcing him to play only nine games the entire season. Last year he also dealt with a hamstring injury, but he was able to play 140 games.
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Saunders is relatively young, but he has good experience playing in the post-season and All-Star game. Several teams will be after him, but with the money Matt Klentak has a contract should not be an issue.