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January 16, 2017

Reports: Phillies sign free agent OF Michael Saunders

The reportedly imminent reunion between Jose Bautista and the Toronto Blue Jays appears to have a domino effect that will send a Canadian outfielder to the Phillies.

According to reports, first from national correspondent Jon Morosi, free agent Michael Saunders has signed with the Phillies. The left-handed hitting Saunders, who turned 30 in November, will almost surely open the season as the team’s opening day right fielder.

The Phillies have not confirmed the deal. If all that is standing in the way is a physical, the contract likely wouldn't be officially announced until Tuesday at the earliest. 

According to's Ken Rosenthal, it's a one-year, $9 million deal with a club option for 2018.

Saunders, a native of Victoria, British Columbia, hit .253 with a .338 OBP, 24 home runs, and 32 doubles in 140 games with the Blue Jays last season. A veteran of eight seasons between the Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners, Saunders has slashed .235/.309/.402 in 702 major league games.

A first-time All-Star in 2016, Saunders saw his production drop significantly after the All-Star break: he hit .298/.372/.551 with 16 home runs in 82 games before the break, .178/.282/.357 with eight home runs in 58 games after the break.

Saunders would join a veteran outfielder with Odubel Herrera (signed to an extension last month) and former second baseman Howie Kendrick (acquired in a trade in November). Signing Saunders means outfield prospect Roman Quinn, who has never played at Triple-A, would likely begin the season with the IronPigs.

A possible Phillies Opening Day lineup:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Howie Kendrick, LF
3. Odubel Herrera, CF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Michael Saunders, RF
6. Tommy Joseph, 1B
7. Freddy Galvis, SS
8. Cameron Rupp, C

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