UPDATE: Royals sign Michael Saunders
By Kevin Glew
Canadian Baseball Network
Two days after signing a minor league deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Victoria, B.C., native Michael Saunders and the club have torn up that agreement to enable him to sign with the Kansas City Royals.
The Canadian outfielder's deal with the Royals is also a minor league pact that includes an invitation to big league spring training. Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com reports that Saunders will make a base salary of $1.5 million if he can crack the big league club. The deal also includes $500,000 in potential incentives.
SB Nation's Chris Cotillo reports that the Pirates allowed Saunders to pursue other opportunities after the club landed outfielder Corey Dickerson in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday. The acquisition of the left-handed hitting Dickerson would've made it tough for Saunders to earn a job in the Pirates' outfield.
A 2016 American League All-Star, Saunders split 2017 between the Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays, where he hit a combined .202 with six home runs and 21 RBIs in 73 games. It was a difficult season for the Canadian outfielder after he enjoyed his best big league campaign with the Blue Jays in 2016 when he established career-highs in games (140), home runs (24) and walks (59).
The Canuck veteran boasts a career batting average of .232 with 81 home runs and 263 RBIs in parts of nine big league seasons with the Seattle Mariners, Blue Jays and Phillies.