The Mariners are expected to shop outfielder Michael Saunders at the GM meetings in Phoenix next week, according to a report from ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick. Major-league sources say that there is strong interest throughout the league, identifying the Reds, Dodgers, Tigers, Orioles, Blue Jays, Mets, Athletics, Rangers, Angels, Rays and Phillies as the teams to watch in trade talks.
Saunders, who turns 28 this month, recently had his conditioning criticized by general manager Jack Zduriencik after injuries limited him to only 78 games in 2014. This likely caused a fracture in the relationship between the player and the team, causing, as Crasnick notes, "both sides appearing ready to move on".
When playing, Saunders was a solid offensive contributor for Seattle, hitting .273/.341/.450 with eight home runs and 34 RBI last season. He has shown solid power numbers and the ability to play all three outfield positions at an above-average level, causing many teams throughout the league to show interest in acquiring him as a buy-low type of player.
Saunders earned $2.3 million last season and will be arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter. He would be property of any team that acquires him through the end of the 2016 season.