Arizona Diamondbacks’ GM Kevin Towers declared in early December that one of his goals was to acquire a starting pitcher. He came up empty at the Winter Meetings and he also missed out on Masahiro Tanaka and apparently, Matt Garza. Towers also did not want to go more than three years on a veteran free agent so that could also rule out Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez and Bronson Arroyo. If we are to believe K.T.’s mandate, would he be willing to discuss a one year deal with say, former D’back Joe Saunders?
The 32-year old lefty originally came to the team (along with Patrick Corbin and Tyler Skaggs) in July 2010 in the deal that sent Dan Haren to the Los Angeles Angels. Although he posted a losing record (21-30 3.96 ERA) in his roughly two season stint with the Snakes, he was a pretty effective pitcher for them. In his one full year with the team, Saunders went 12-13 with a 3.69 ERA in 212 innings as Arizona won the National League West championship. He was rocked in his one NLDS start, pitching three innings and allowing three earned runs earning a no-decision in the D’backs 10-6, Game 4 victory. In 2012, Saunders struggled going 6-11 with a 4.22 ERA in 21 starts before being dealt on August 26th to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for Matt Lindstrom and cash. He spent 2013 with the Seattle Mariners going 11-16 with a 5.26 ERA in 183 innings.
As far as we know, there has been no talk of a reunion between Saunders and the D’backs. I am pretty sure, there won’t be, either. However, if the organization is looking for someone who will provide 30 starts and at least 180 innings for a reduced price, there may not be a better option than Joe Saunders.