MLB Rumors: Where Will Joe Saunders Pitch in 2013?

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MLB Rumors: Where Will Joe Saunders Pitch in 2013?

Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

After the Baltimore Orioles acquired pitcher Joe Saunders from the Arizona Diamondbacks last August, all he did was win three of his seven starts and post a 3.63 ERA. He was a big help to the Orioles postseason hopes but also perhaps to himself. Now as a free agent he has garnered attention from several teams including the New York Mets, Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Angels, Minnesota Twins and of course the Orioles.

There are several factors that will weigh in on his decision of where to sign. Rumor has it that he has already received a couple of offers for two year deals. Saunders reportedly is a very patient man and will be willing to wait out the process to see what options he has. We then are going to look at the more prominent options for Saunders during the upcoming season.

Roughly things seem to favor no one at this point. The San Diego Padres were once said to be in the running for Saunders but have fallen out somewhat at this point. What is the sticking point? Saunders is really interested in getting a multi-year contract to take him well into his thirties. While he has proven that he is a reliable hurler and has averaged over 200 innings per 162 games, he is getting a little push back on the multi-year option. As of yet no one has given him the three of four year deal he wants. Who is more likely to find a happy medium with him?

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5 - Seattle Mariners

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The Seattle MarinersYour text to link... have been interested in Joe Saunders all off-season and really could use a good veteran arm like his on the mound every fifth day. They are very stand-offish about the three or four years Saunders is asking for. At this point it appears that they will be willing to give up pursuit of Saunders altogether if he persistently refuses anything less than a three year deal. Considering the situation the Mariners are in this year, I would wish that they were willing to give Saunders another look for their fans sake. It doesn’t look extremely likely at this point.

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4 - New York Mets

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The New York Mets aren’t looking all that deep in the area of pitching right now. They traded away ace R.A. Dickey and reports suggest that Johan Santana is about to enter his last season as a Met. Those, among other concerns make Joe Saunders an attractive option for their rotation. They do have their eyes on other free agent pitchers as well including former Atlanta Brave Jair Jurrjens, Carl Pavano and Shaun Marcum. The Mets might find a pitcher that is willing to take a one year deal with incentives more of a good fit than Saunders. However if they still have some money left and Saunders is still undecided, it certainly would be a good get for the Mets.

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3 – Minnesota Twins

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In the way of balance, the Minnesota Twins have been doing a decent job of balancing young and veteran players. They probably don’t have the right mix yet to be extremely competitive but the addition of a reliable starter like Joe Saunders could be a bigger add for them than anyone else. They would need to come off of a little money and a few years deal but he might be worth that to a team that has so many younger players. Even if he faltered in the final year of a multi-year deal, Saunders would be a worthy addition to the Twins. That must be why they are so interested.

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2 - Los Angeles Angels

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The Los Angeles Angels haven’t been shy about spending money in certain areas this off-season. One area they have cut spending however has been the hump in the middle of the diamond. With Zack Greinke, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana replaced now with Jason Vargas, Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton, things aren’t as certain on the mound as they were. Hanson isn’t exactly reliable but has potential that remains. The uncertainties in the rotation could be balanced by the signing of a reliable innings eater like Joe Saunders. If no one else is willing to go to the three year mark with Joe Saunders, the Angels might want to consider doing so.

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1 - Baltimore Orioles

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Having been the ones that brought Joe Saunders in last season, the Baltimore Orioles already know what he can bring in the short term. They are interested in resigning him for another year or two. That is the only problem of course because as mentioned before, Saunders wants three or four years. Still the Orioles might be the front runner in the race to sign him. Why that is can be explained easily enough. Saunders has said he wants to play for the Orioles in 2013. Does he want to play with them bad enough to come down one more year to maybe a two year deal with incentives? Time will tell.

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