The Pittsburgh Pirates announced on Wednesday afternoon that they have signed outfielder Michael Saunders to a minor league deal, with an invite to Major League Spring Training. The 31-year-old Saunders has nine years worth of big league experience.

Saunders split the 2017 season between the Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays, hitting a combined .202/.256/.344 in 73 games. He spent part of the season in Triple-A. It was a large drop-off from his 2016 season when he hit .253/.338/.478 for Toronto, making his first All-Star game appearance. In nine seasons, he has a .232/.305/.397 slash line over 775 games. Saunders has split his time fairly evenly between all three outfield spots during his pro career, with the most time coming in center field. Despite the versatility, Baseball-Reference has him as a -3.6 dWAR in his career.

Saunders joins a crowded outfield in Spring Training right now, competing for either the left field starting spot or the 4th/5th outfield spots. The Pirates picked up outfielder Bryce Brentz from the Red Sox yesterday and they signed Daniel Nava earlier this month. Saunders gives them another left-handed hitting option in their large group of outfielders.

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  1. Compared to what they already have and what they are signing it seems to like throwing crap at a wall to see what will stick. Neither Nava or Saunders have been consistently good over their major league years. Of course I will admit my biggest concern is that since Hurdle is the manager and with his track record he already has his mind made up that it will be Nava or Saunders if not both and once again why have a farm system if you keep buying retreads!

  2. Individually no problem with these minor league outfield additions. But the stockpiling trend is starting to get on my nerves. I’d rather have multiple Bryce Brentz types versus end of the line veterans.

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