Saunders hopes to remain in Toronto with new deal
Tom Szczerbowski / Getty Images Sport / Getty

When the Toronto Blue Jays decided against offering Michael Saunders a qualifying offer at the end of the season, many assumed his time with the team had come to an end.

That might not be the case after all.

With vacancies in both corner outfield spots, Saunders is still holding out for a return to the Blue Jays and is optimistic something will get done.

"We’ve been talking to the Blue Jays on and off all offseason. I’ve been very vocal about my tenure in Toronto and really enjoying myself," Saunders told Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith.

"I’m keeping my options open. I'm waiting for the right deal for me and my family. I’m hoping to stay in Toronto and hopefully finding out soon."

The Blue Jays' quiet offseason has been scrutinized by fans, especially after the departure of longtime slugger Edwin Encarnacion, whose contract negotiations were made public by agent Paul Kinzer. With only 30 days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training, time is running out for the team to make changes and it might lead the Blue Jays into bringing Saunders - and possibly Jose Bautista - back in the fold.

Saunders earned his first All-Star appearance last season thanks to a scorching start to the year in which he hit 298/.372/.551 with 16 home runs and 42 RBIs. His poor second half has contributed to his perceived value on the open market as the 30-year-old hit a measly .178/.282/.357 in the Blue Jays' final 58 games.

The Victoria, B.C., native also told reporters that he plans to play for Canada but wants to get a deal done before officially committing to the World Baseball Classic.

Saunders hopes to remain in Toronto with new deal
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