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Joe Saunders may have priced himself out of Arizona’s plans

Nov 14, 2011, 10:15 AM EDT

Arizona Diamondbacks v San Francisco Giants Getty Images

Joe Saunders had a very good season in Arizona, throwing 212 innings with a 3.69 ERA despite a mediocre 109/68 K/BB ratio, but Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the Diamondbacks may end up non-tendering the 30-year-old left-hander rather than giving him a raise to $7-8 million via arbitration.

Saunders earned $5.5 million this year and made it clear to Piecoro that he wants to stick around, but that’s awfully expensive for someone with a 4.16 career ERA, just 5.0 strikeouts per nine innings, and underwhelming raw stuff.

General manager Kevin Towers hinted that the team’s interest in retaining Saunders at that salary will depend on the free agent market for starters. In other words, if the price tags are too high on their various targets the Diamondbacks could view Saunders as a one-year fallback plan.

December 12 is the deadline to tender arbitration eligible players a contract.

  1. notsofast10 - Nov 14, 2011 at 10:20 AM

    Plus the D Backs have a possible 3 minor league pitchers that could be ready for the rotation in 2012!

    • cintiphil - Nov 14, 2011 at 10:35 AM

      Plus, his record is just barely a little above average. Not that exciting.

  2. paperlions - Nov 14, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    If only he was a mediocre middle infielder….who needs 200 solid innings from starter when you have a virtual cornucopia of scraptastic middle infielders?

    $7M for 200 innings of 4.0 ERA pitching in Arizona (a great hitters park) is a good deal for the team….exciting? no, but a necessary component to make it through a 162 game grind? yes.

    • Kyle - Nov 14, 2011 at 12:12 PM

      But…. Willy Bloomquist!

  3. trotnixonisbestnixon - Nov 14, 2011 at 5:03 PM

    If he actually ends up on the open market and the price is right, I think he would make a TON of sense with a team like the Twins, especially if they non-tender Kevin Slowey and keep Glen Perkins in the bullpen. The pitcher-friendly nature of Target Field would help him with the transition back to the AL (where he wasn’t too bad in the first place), and Minny definitely needs another guy behind Pavano that can effectively eat some innings. A (healthy) rotation of Pavano, Saunders, Liriano, Baker and Blackburn would be a nice step toward avoiding another cellar season.

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