Sanders mulls backup jobs or possible TV analyst job

Outfielder Reggie Sanders, one of six players in baseball history with 300 home runs and 300 stolen bases, plans to make a decision on his future by the end of January.

He'll either return to play for an 18th season, retire, or make the transition directly from baseball to a job as a television analyst.

Sanders said his agent, Mike Powers, has talked to the
San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers about a backup outfielder job. In the meantime, he's scheduled to audition for a spot on ESPN's "Baseball Tonight" next week.

"I haven't decided what I want to do," Sanders said Thursday. "I feel like I still want to play, but this is about making the right decision for me and my family. That's where the holdup is."

Padres general manager Kevin Towers said Thursday that Sanders is a potential backup option for the club if some trade possibilities fail to materialize.

"We would rather have a younger, controllable player via a trade," Towers said.

Sanders, 40, is a .267 career hitter with 305 home runs in 17 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds and seven other clubs.

Sanders has been bothered by a succession of injuries in recent years, and appeared in only 205 of a possible 486 games with St. Louis and Kansas City from 2005 through 2007. Last year he suffered a torn hamstring and hit .315 in 24 games for the Royals.

Sanders appeared in the World Series with Arizona in 2001, San Francisco in 2002 and St. Louis in 2004. Two years ago, he joined Willie Mays, Andre Dawson, Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonds and Steve Finley in the 300-300 club.

Sanders is one of several veteran outfielders still looking for work in a difficult winter for many free agents. The list of players still on the market includes Barry Bonds, Luis Gonzalez, Shawn Green, Kenny Lofton, Bobby Kielty, Shannon Stewart, Trot Nixon, Brad Wilkerson, Corey Patterson, Rondell White and Kevin Mench.

Jerry Crasnick covers Major League Baseball for ESPN.com.