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Pirates sign outfielder Michael Saunders

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MLB: Seattle Mariners at Philadelphia Phillies Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates announced today that they have signed outfielder Michael Saunders to a minor league contract with a non-roster invitation to spring training. Saunders is a nine-year MLB veteran and a 2016 AL All-Star, but he struggled mightily with the Phillies and Blue Jays last season, posting a .202/.256/.344 batting line in 234 plate appearances. He bats from the left side and has experience at all three outfield positions, and will likely compete with Nava, Luplow, Brentz, et al for the open left field job.

UPDATE (WTM): Here are some notes from Brian:

2012-16 (ages 25-29) 249/325/435 759 OPS 111 OPS+
2014-16 (ages 27-29) 257/337/457 795 OPS 116 OPS+

missed 52 games in July/Aug of 2014 with oblique

missed all but 9 games of 2015 with torn meniscus in left knee (stepped on sprinkler Feb 26, 60% was removed) came back 7 weeks

later to play 9 games in late April/early May, but then out rest of year (60 day DL for inflammation on May 10)

good comeback year in 2016 (253/338/478 32 doubles, 24 homers), his best, but horrible in 2017 (202/256/344 in 12 games with TOR, 61 PHI)

good power, good eye, high but not excessive K’s (25-28%)

no platoon splits for a lefty, Oliver projects 229/298/385 vs RHP, 224/295/361 vs LHP, 26% K vs either