The Seattle Mariners declined the option of veteran starting pitcher Joe Saunders, which was absolutely the right move. There is no way Seattle is going to make any progress next season if they pay the right-hander $8.3 million, especially if he put up a similar performance to the dismal one he had this year.
The Mariners were trying to correct their wrong throughout the season. Saunders did make 32 starts, which means Seattle had every intention of squeezing out every last dime of the $6.5 million the organization paid him in 2013. With that being said, the Mariners also contemplated the idea of a trade at the deadline, which guaranteed his future with the team was in question.
“You just have to go out there and pitch,” Saunders said in July, according to Mariners.com. “It’s really out of your hands. You’ve got to go out there and do your job and whatever happens, happens. You can’t control it.
The 32-year-old posted an 11-16 record with a career-high 5.26 earned run average and 107 strikeouts in 183 innings.
With ace Felix Hernandez continuing to play well, it is quite clear there is a standard Seattle is trying to set among the starters in the rotation. The emergence of Hisashi Iwakuma and several young pitchers stepping up also makes it impossible for there to be any room for Saunders.
I believe he will find a job somewhere as a backend rotation pitcher. His veteran presence is enough for some team to take a chance on him.