DENVER, CO - Starting pitcher Joe Saunders #34 of the Arizona Diamondbacks delivers against Carlos Gonzalez #5 of the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Joe Saunders Heads Back To Arizona

Joe Saunders was non-tendered by the Diamondbacks, but as a free agent, he's drawn interest from a number of different teams.

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Nick Piecoro: Kevin Towers Speaks

You probably saw the screaming headline: JOE SAUNDERS SIGNS WITH D'BACKS FOR ONE YEAR AND $6 MILLION.

Or not. The biggest news might be that Saunders got a lot less than his agent probably told him he would get. But in the end, he's back with the team for whom he pitched last season. Nick Piecoro tracked down Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers, who presumably is happy to have Saunders back:

Saunders had "offers out there similar to what we had talked about prior to the tender date," Towers said. That is, he had been offered about two years and $12 million from other teams. But apparently they were from clubs on the east coast and Saunders wanted to remain out here. "This is where his home is, where wants to be," Towers said. "He’ll be back with his teammates and hopefully make another run at the NL West. From a selfish standpoint, it could haven’t have worked out better for us."

Towers said that after the signing of outfielder Jason Kubel (two years, $15.5 million), he figured the Diamondbacks and Saunders would part ways. "I’d read his name with Miami, Baltimore, Boston," Towers said. "And we really didn’t have much dialogue after we signed Kubel."

I'm endlessly amused by how many players wind up getting almost exactly what they "deserve". Saunders has been worth roughly $6 million per season over the last three seasons, and now he's getting $6 million. Even though his agent probably told him he was probably going to get a lot more.

Now, today might have been a tough day for Joe Saunders. But if Saunders is lucky -- and I don't write this with anything but compassion -- he'll realize that $6 million is still a great deal of money, and that if he's smart he'll never have to work another day in his life, even if this is his last contract. Which it probably won't be.

Saunders isn't going to set the world on fire. But he's perfectly capable of filling the No. 5 slot for a contending team. You'd rather spend less than $6 million on your No. 5 starter, but if you need one and you've got the money...


Joe Saunders Re-Signs For $6 Million

You know how sometimes a post on the Internet doesn't actually need any body content after the headline? This is one of those times. "Joe Saunders Re-Signs For $6 Million." What else needs to be said? "Joe Saunders Re-Signs For $6 Million. The Arizona Diamondbacks have re-signed Joe Saunders. They will pay him $6 million." I don't know why you're reading this. You already got all of the information you are going to get! Writing this is probably a waste of my time. Reading this is definitely a waste of your time.

Here's Jon Heyman. $6 million. As we've established. Saunders made $5.5 million a year ago. The Diamondbacks non-tendered him because they didn't want to give him a raise to $8-9 million territory. In the end, they didn't have to. As a matter of fact, they barely gave him a raise at all. Remember when Ken Rosenthal said not long ago that a three-year contract was possible? haha

Critical to understand: "Joe Saunders Re-Signs For $6 Million" is not the same as "Joe Saunders Resigns For $6 Million." In the first one, Joe Saunders is getting paid to pitch. In the second one, Joe Saunders is getting paid to not pitch. That is not the case, yet.


Diamondbacks, Joe Saunders Agree To One-Year Deal

The Arizona Diamondbacks had interest in retaining the services of Joe Saunders, eater of innings, but they couldn't come to an agreement before the non-tender deadline. The Diamondbacks declined to offer Saunders arbitration, fearing that he'd get upwards of $7 million. But it wasn't a true breakup -- they were just allowed to see other people, teams, and/or options, and now they're back together. From Steve Henson:

Joe Saunders has agreed to terms w Dbacks on a 1-yr deal.

Saunders will rejoin a revamped rotation that has the same guys as before (Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, and Josh Collmenter) as well as a shiny new addition (Trevor Cahill). As a #5 starter, Saunders should do just fine, and his willingness to sign a one-year deal will allow the Diamondbacks the freedom to introduce their stable of awesome pitching prospects at their own pace.

Saunders came over to the Diamondbacks in the Dan Haren trade in 2010, and in 294 innings for Arizona, he has a 3.85 ERA (105 ERA+).


Joe Saunders Is Underrated. No, Really.

Joe Saunders remains unemployed after being non-tendered, but whoever signs him will enjoy this mystery pitcher.


Joe Saunders Receiving Assortment Of Offers

In December, Joe Saunders was non-tendered by a Diamondbacks team that wasn't wild about the idea of paying him something like eight million dollars. Saunders thus became a free agent. But don't you feel bad for Joe Saunders. Joe Saunders will be just fine. From Ken Rosenthal:

Sources: Saunders receiving one-year and multi-year offers. Three-year deal possible. #Tigers, #Marlins among logical fits.

Saunders and his agent would like a three-year deal. Saunders and his agent probably will not find a three-year deal, but it is not impossible. As for the Marlins, there's recent word that they're not very interested, but, who knows?

I think Saunders catches a lot of flak from the online baseball community. People are still laughing about his won/loss records back in the day with the Angels. But over the past three years, Saunders has posted the same ERA as Bronson Arroyo. He's posted about the same FIP as Ross Ohlendorf. He's posted the same xFIP as J.A. Happ. He's posted about the same strikeout rate as Jason Marquis. And he's posted the same walk rate as Dave Bush. When you consider that company, then - oh wait, I get it. Joe Saunders isn't very good! And he's 30 now!

Joe Saunders is a back-of-the-rotation starter. If nothing else, he's durable - he's made at least 31 starts in each of the last four seasons, and he's only once been on the DL, for about the minimum amount of time. There is some value there. There's just...there's just not very much. I should hope that Joe Saunders doesn't get a three-year contract, unless he gets a three-year contract worth one- or two-year contract money.


Joe Saunders: The Most 2011 Of All Non-Tenders

Joe Saunders wasn't tendered a contract by the Arizona Diamondbacks, and he wasn't traded before he became a free agent. This isn't 2001.

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