MLB rumors roundup: The Angels' left field search

Former Mariner and current Blue Jay Michael Saunders was limited to just nine games in 2015 due to knee issues. Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The buzz around baseball Monday centered on the proposed three-team trade between the Angels, Reds and Blue Jays that would send Jay Bruce to Toronto and Michael Saunders to Anaheim.

The deal, however, hit a snag during the medical review of the players involved, sources told ESPN's Buster Olney. A source tells Olney the deal is dead for now, but does it mean the Angels are content with their left field situation?

The Halos, who still fashion themselves as postseason contenders, were criticized this offseason for not seeking a higher profile upgrade. If the three-team deal had gone down, Saunders would have competed for at-bats in the competition that includes, among others, Daniel Nava, Craig Gentry and Todd Cunningham.

MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez notes the Angels had been mentioned as a suitor for Bruce for some time, but had no interest in taking on his $12.5 million contract for this season. Saunders will make a more modest $2.9 million, but is coming off a knee injury that limited him to nine games in 2015.

The Angels were mentioned as a possible fit for free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler earlier this winter, but it appears GM Billy Eppler never expressed any serious interest.

The pursuit of Saunders shows the Angels are still looking to deal, but only at a modest price.

Here are more rumors making the rounds on Tuesday:

  • Josh Hamilton: The Texas Rangers continue to monitor the remaining outfielders on the free-agent market given the uncertain status of Hamilton, who is seeking a second opinion on his sore left knee, reports T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. One of those options, Jeff Francoeur, came off the board Monday when he signed a minor league deal with the Braves. The Rangers have been linked to Shane Victorino, but reportedly are interested only in a minor league deal. Veteran Justin Ruggiano, signed as a free agent over the winter, could get plenty of at-bats if Hamilton's injury issues persist. Additional internal options include Joey Gallo, Ryan Rua and James Jones.

  • Andre Ethier: GM Farhan Zaidi downplayed the persistent rumors that the Dodgers would like to deal the veteran outfielder. “When a guy is an important and productive part of your team, you don’t spend your time worrying about whether you can trade him,” Zaidi told Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times. The White Sox were reportedly interested in Ethier earlier this month, but that rumor fizzled. Ethier is scheduled to make $35.5 million over the next two seasons, and has a vesting option for 2018.

  • Wil Myers: The Padres are moving Myers to first base this spring, but he will still see occasional time in left field, reports Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Lefty-swinging Brett Wallace is expected to get some occasional time at first base as well. Lin says the Padres also have discussed batting Myers lower in the order, but nothing has been decided yet.

  • Cliff Lee: Has the career of the four-time All-Star reached the end of the line? Lee’s agent, Darek Braunecker, tells Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports: “We don’t anticipate him playing at this point.” Lee sat out last season with a torn flexor tendon in his pitching elbow. Lee was reportedly looking for a job between $6 and $8 million, according to a previous report from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

  • Casey McGehee: The Tigers have agreed to a minor league deal with the infielder, who hit just .198 with a .538 OPS for the Giants and Marlins last season, tweets Jon Heyman of MLB Network. The deal shows the Tigers are looking for some insurance at third base behind Nick Castellanos, who has underperformed in his first two seasons.

  • Gordon Beckham: Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez says Beckham, who signed a one-year deal following a career-worst season with the White Sox (.209 BA, .332 OBP), will get a legitimate chance to compete for the starting third base job. “Everything is a possibility,” Gonzalez tells David O’Brien of the Atlanta JC. Adonis Garcia and Kelly Johnson are considered the front-runners for the job.