Saunders signed a minor-league contract with the Blue Jays on Wednesday, Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com reports. Toronto struggled to find consistent production from the left field spot between Ezequiel Carrera and Steve Pearce this season, so the organization could end up turning to a former Blue Jay to see if he can offer a boost at the position. Saunders was let go by the Phillies earlier this month after slashing .205/.257/.360 in 214 plate appearances, but he's just one season removed from a 24-homer, 32-double campaign that netted him an All-Star nod with Toronto. He'll first report to Triple-A Buffalo to begin his second tour with the organization, but if he's able to find some success at the plate early on, a promotion to the big club could come quickly.
The Phillies released Saunders on Friday. Saunders and his $9 million contract unsurprisingly passed through waivers unclaimed, so the Phillies have given him his release. He is now eligible to sign with any team for the minimum.
Saunders was designated for assignment by the Phillies on Tuesday, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports. After being named an All-Star last season, Saunders struggled through the first half of 2017 before being cast off the Phillies' 40-man roster. The 30-year-old managed a weak .205/.257/.360 slash line with six homers and 51 strikeouts in 200 at-bats this season (61 games). Given his $9 million contract, he'll likely pass through waivers unclaimed, become a free agent and sign elsewhere for cheap.
Saunders was scratched from the lineup prior to Sunday's game against the Diamondbacks. When lineups were initially released Sunday morning, Saunders was penciled in to bat sixth and start in right field. Manager Pete Mackanin has since decided to shake things up by moving Aaron Altherr to right field and having Daniel Nava start in left.
Saunders went 2-for-4 with a double in Saturday's 5-1 loss to the Diamondbacks. Saunders got the start in right field after sitting on the bench the prior three games. He snapped an 0-for-19 skid Saturday while also putting together his first multi-hit game since May 28. The veteran outfielder will need to continue to capitalize on his opportunities to try to earn back some of the playing time he has lost to Daniel Nava.