The Baltimore Orioles added some veteran presence to their rotation down the stretch by acquiring Joe Saunders from the Diamondbacks in exchange for reliever Matt Lindstrom and a player to be named later. The 31-year old Saunders initially was acquired by Arizona at the 2010 trade deadline from the Angels in the Dan Haren trade.
Saunders had an ill-fitting description as a "winner" during his years with the Angels, but in reality, he's a mediocre back-end starter. Saunders has a career 4.17 ERA while striking out just 5.15 batters per nine innings over his career and allowing more than one homer per nine innings. He's making $6 million this season, and will be a free agent following the year. Baltimore has had ten different pitchers start games this year, and the most impressive ones have been the injured Jason Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen.
Lindstrom is actually a solid return for Saunders. He's making $3.6 million this year, and has a club option for $4 million this year. In 36 1/3 innings, Lindstrom has a career-best 2.72 ERA and is striking out 7.43 batter per nine innings, above his career average of 7.22. Baltimore's bullpen has been a strength this year, and Lindstrom is actually one of the lower men on the totem pole, so the deal makes sense for Baltimore. As for the Diamondbacks, this deal seems to be less about acquiring Lindstrom and more about discharging Saunders from the roster to create room for their talented young starters. Tyler Skaggs made his major league debut on Wednesday, and was solid enough for Arizona to commit to him on a full-time basis. With Wade Miley, Trevor Cahill, and Ian Kennedy locked into Arizona's starting five, the dealing of Saunders allows for Skaggs and Pat Corbin to remain in the rotation, with Trevor Bauer likely joning them once rosters expand on September 1st.
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