Phillies: How long can Michael Saunders leash be?
The logic behind the signing of Saunders shouldn’t be fought, nor compared to the reacquisition of Marlon Byrd in 2014.
Philadelphia saw an opportunity to sign an admittedly streaky power hitter who could garner a high price at the trade deadline. He came on a one-year deal, and the Phillies wisely added a club-option so the acquiring team could see him as more than a rental.
While hoping for the hitter who mashed 16 home runs with a .298 batting average prior to the 2016 All-Star game, the Phillies instead found the sub-.200 hitter.
Through 58 games Michael Saunders’ abysmal .203 batting average can’t be forgiven, even on this roster.
His last home run came on May 27, and he’s collected just one hit, a single in the 11-4 win against Atlanta, in the month of June.
More from Phillies Rumors
- Phillies rumors: Club targets Seth Lugo for possible bullpen role
- Could Phillies sign 2nd former Mets starting pitcher in same offseason?
- Phillies rumor: Dansby Swanson could be club’s alternative to Trea Turner
- Rob Thomson apology hints possible Phillies blockbuster signing
- Phillies rumors: Club likely to land top shortstop on free-agent market
So is the Michael Saunders experiment over yet, or do the Phillies have to keep pushing through the summer with the hope of a power surge?
Unfortunately, the team will search for the power surge with Saunders. With nothing to truly play for the team will take a chance on the 30-year-old getting hot as the trade deadline approaches.
It’s unlikely the team offers him an outright release or sends him to Triple-A to figure out his swing. At the very least, Saunders will stick with the major league club through July, and if an early waiver trade is unsuccessful in the first week of August, then the team is likely to release him.
There’s no value in benching him for a prospect such as Nick Williams, who is proving his worth in Triple-A. Unless Saunders falls to the disabled list for an extended period of time, his presence on the field won’t fade.
Next: Cardinals an Ideal Trade Partner
So until the heat of summer begins to dissipate, the Phillies will continue to drudge out a lineup with Saunders hoping for his bat to warm up with the weather.