According to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, the Arizona Diamondbacks have non-tendered LHP Joe Saunders. Saunders, affectionately known as “Saundo” by Angels and D-Back fans alike, was 12-13 last year for the NL West division champions. He sported a solid 3.69 ERA across a career-high 212 innings. Most notably, Saunders was a main component of the trade that sent Dan Haren to the Los Angeles Angels as well as LHP prospects Tyler Skaggs and Pat Corbin to Arizona.
Many reporters and fans alike had wondered if the Diamondbacks would tender Saunders a contract, but the team’s recent acquisition of Trevor Cahill likely sealed his fate. Saunders’ price tag would have been high, but it still seems like the Diamondbacks could have got something in return for Saunders as there are many pitching starved teams scrambling for solutions in a weak free agent market. Being relatively young and a proven commodity, Saunders should not have any problems finding work. In fact, with the exception of Yu Darvish, Saunders may become one of the most sought after arms in major league baseball.
Initially, it appears the strongest suitors for Joe Saunders include the Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals, Washington Nationals and the Colorado Rockies. Saunders now finds himself on the right side of a market that could land him a contract in excess of three years and 25 million dollars. This is considerably more than the Diamondbacks reported extension offer from a week ago and on par with the 8.5 million dollars he was expected to earn in arbitration. Teams that have shied away from the astronomical asking price of pitchers like Wandy Rodriguez and Gio Gonzalez may be willing to pay a higher monetary price for Saunders as it will not involve parting ways with any of a team’s prized prospects.