It was just about a forgone conclusion that lefty pitcher Joe Saunders was headed elsewhere after he could not come to an agreement with the Arizona Diamondbacks once he became arbitration eligible. The Dbacks wanted him, but not at his price. Saunders felt like he could get more on the open market. Turns out, both sides win and so do the fans. Saunders does not get the raise he was looking for but will make slightly more than he did in 2011. The Dbacks also gain stability in the five-man rotation.
The Dbacks were unable to land another veteran free agent pitcher, so they went back to Saunders, who really came back because he wanted to be in Arizona. It came down to where his heart was. Sure, money talked a little, but in the end Saunders gets to pitch for the team he wanted to be with and look to improve on a 12-13 2011 season.
The Dbacks were going to go within the organization and find their fifth starter, someone like Trevor Bauer or Tyler Skaggs, maybe even a Wade Miley. One of those guys could still push Josh Collmenter in spring training, however, now with Saunders penciled into the fourth spot, it brings back a guy familiar with the team and a guy comfortable with manager Kirk Gibson. It also adds more veteran leadership to the staff. So, I’m good with the move.
Now Saunders has to go out and prove he belongs in the rotation again and worth the $6 million the Dbacks are shelling out for him. He had a couple of great months last season but also was inconsistent at times. He needs to be able to show more consistency. I do not think durability will be an issue. I expect at least 200 innings out of him easily.