The Tigers are interested in free agent left-hander Joe Saunders, according to Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio and ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Reds and Red Sox also have some interest in Saunders, who was non-tendered by the Diamondbacks earlier in the week.
Saunders, 30, posted a 3.69 ERA with 4.6 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 44.5% ground ball rate in 212 innings this past season. He has averaged 200 innings per season since 2008 without striking out more than five batters per nine innings in any of the past four seasons. The former 12th overall pick had an average fastball velocity of 89.6 mph in 2011.
The Tigers’ projected rotation features Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello at this point. Adding Saunders would provide the team with a left-handed presence capable of contributing 200 innings at the back of the rotation.