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Report: Mariners agree to one-year deal with left-hander Joe Saunders

Feb 7, 2013, 7:46 PM EDT

Joe Saunders Getty Getty Images

UPDATE: The deal is worth between $5-7 million and includes an option for 2014, according to Scott Boeck of USA Today.

7:46 PM: This isn’t quite on the level of the big Felix Hernandez news, but FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Mariners have signed left-hander Joe Saunders to a one-year contract, pending a physical. No word yet on the terms involved.

Saunders was reportedly holding out for a multi-year deal this offseason, but his market clearly didn’t develop as hoped. The Orioles and Twins were also mentioned as possible landing spots in recent weeks, but apparently the Mariners had the best offer on the table.

Saunders owns a 4.15 ERA over eight seasons in the majors, including a 4.07 ERA and 112/39 K/BB ratio over 174 2/3 innings last season between the Diamondbacks and Orioles. The 31-year-old will essentially fill the spot of fellow southpaw Jason Vargas, who was traded to the Angels earlier this winter in the Kendrys Morales deal.

  1. byjiminy - Feb 7, 2013 at 10:33 PM

    The Twins had a desperate need for pitching and tens of millions of unspent payroll, thanks to their new stadium. They claimed they were pursuing him. Unless the Mariners gave him something utterly ridiculous, for the Twins to lose a bidding war when he was willing to settle for a one year contract reflects very poorly on their sincerity in attempting to remain remotely competitive.

    With all the money they are stuffing in their pockets, they now have no excuse to lose a bidding war on those Cuban infielders, either of which would cost a pittance compared to a real free agent.

    • paperlions - Feb 8, 2013 at 8:49 AM

      The Twins have a fantastic group of prospects right now including some power arms that project to be top of the rotation guys in 2-3 years.

      I really don’t know what to think about the idea that signing Saunders represents an attempt to remain competitive. Saunders has been a below average starter his entire career.

      FWIW, those recently defected Cuban players probably won’t be available for many months…..and there are a lot of rich teams willing to spend money on them. It isn’t like the Pohlad family has a history of spending….despite being among the very wealthiest owners in MLB.

      • zzalapski - Feb 8, 2013 at 9:52 AM

        If Saunders was willing to go for a one-year deal, how many prospects was he going to block?

    • egbrainerd - Feb 8, 2013 at 10:46 AM

      Saunders didn’t want to pitch for the Twins. Plain and simple. Sure it’s the Twins fault that they haven’t been competitive the last 2 years and won’t for the next 2, but ultimately, if he wanted to be in a Twins uni, he would be.

      • Reflex - Feb 8, 2013 at 5:51 PM

        To be fair, the M’s haven’t been competitive for longer than the Twins…

  2. Reflex - Feb 8, 2013 at 12:28 AM

    Not a bad deal, the M’s rotation ends up being about the same, but now with Kendrys adding some pop to the lineup. Given that Vargas is on his last year this is roughly ending up where they were before, but now with a bat.

    Kind of odd that the Angels didn’t grab Saunders. Probably didn’t want to wait any longer as he was still seeking multi-year deals.

  3. seattlenative57 - Feb 8, 2013 at 12:56 AM

    Nice get for Ms until Hultzen, Walker and/or Paxton make the jump.

  4. yankeepunk3000 - Feb 8, 2013 at 1:25 AM

    Good deal for the M’s, their rotation is about the same now. Except I do think he is a better choice then Vargas was, plus in that ballpark he will probably be more affective. Looks like the M’s are trying to contend, they have good pitching and a lot better offense. So here’s hoping.

  5. djjackson81 - Feb 8, 2013 at 1:38 AM

    Walker needs to be in the rotation

    • joenash72 - Feb 8, 2013 at 3:46 AM

      At least now we have top-3 of Felix, Saunders, Iwakama. They can let Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen, James Paxon, and Brandon Maurer compete to knock Blake Beaven and Erasmo Ramirez out of the 4-5 spots on the rotation. While some things I’ve read say Walker may have highest upside, it sounds like the others will make it up before him…

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