D’Backs To Sign Joe Saunders

The D'Backs announced that they have agreed to sign free agent Joe Saunders to a one-year deal. Legacy Sports Group represents the left-hander, who was non-tendered by the D'Backs in December. Saunders will obtain $6MM, or $2.7MM less than his projected salary through arbitration. GM Kevin Towers expects Saunders to fit in well on the 2012 club.

“Joe was an integral part of our success last season and will help stabilize the rotation next season,”  Towers said in a statement. 

Saunders re-joins Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson and Josh Collmenter in a D'Backs rotation that now includes Trevor Cahill. The Red Sox, Orioles, MarlinsTigers and Rockies were among the teams with some interest in Saunders this offseason.

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.

Steve Henson of Yahoo Sports first tweeted news of the deal and Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweeted the terms of the contract.


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85 Comments on "D’Backs To Sign Joe Saunders"


3 years 7 months ago

Well that was unexpected

3 years 7 months ago

but hugely awesome.  KT has done everything right this offseason!

SouthPawRyno
3 years 7 months ago

 I hope you’re kidding.

SouthPawRyno
3 years 7 months ago

 I hope you’re kidding.

BrandonDbacks
3 years 7 months ago

I kinda saw it coming, since no other team was gonna pay Joe the money he was looking for, and he loves playing in Arizona as he mentioned in the beggining of the offseason.

gmenfan
3 years 7 months ago

Have to agree there. It seemed like the longer the offseason went on and Saunders remained available, the likelier it seemed that he was heading back to the DBacks.

Hate to say it, but that’s a nice looking rotation there, Arizona.

3 years 7 months ago

Rotation is now set!  Looking forward to the Season already!!!

JonBoyd
3 years 7 months ago

Wait, what?

vtadave
3 years 7 months ago

Apparently you missed it.

D-backs signed Joe Saunders to a one-year deal.

3 years 7 months ago

Division over!

notsureifsrs
3 years 7 months ago

phew

3 years 7 months ago

Congrats, Joe. I hope you have a monster season in 2012!

bvw87
3 years 7 months ago

That D’Backs rotation is rounding out to be pretty damn solid. Might see a better run from them this coming year.

RKel10
3 years 7 months ago

Not a bad #4 starter. Same rotation as last year plus the addition of Cahill. The Dbacks have improved. They bolstered their bullpen with Saito and Breslow. Added Kubel, and acquire Cahill. They should be able to return to the playoffs again this year.

melonis_rex
3 years 7 months ago

Kubel with all those pitch-to-contact guys isn’t really an improvement over Parra. What he gives on offense, he’ll give back with his  DH-worthy defense. 

But i still think the DBacks are the best team in the West.

RKel10
3 years 7 months ago

But when Chris Young goes on his month long slumps Parra can fill in for him. It helps to have depth and flexibility

James Attwood
3 years 7 months ago

If CY stays healthy for a change there’s every reason to expect him not to have a slump of a month. Between a busted up hand and a bad leg, he did the team no favours by running out there everyday for 2-3 weeks after it was clear thre was no “playing through it”.

BrandonDbacks
3 years 7 months ago

Kennedy, Hudson, Cahill, Saunders, Collmenter. Very solid rotation, plus we could eventually see Collmenter being moved to the bullpen since we lack a Long Reliever, then we could call up one of Skaggs/Bauer to take that 5th spot. I like it, now we give em a little more time to season in the minors.

BoSoxSam
3 years 7 months ago

Thank god.

AlexMLB
3 years 7 months ago

Great addition. 
The D’backs have a solid 5 starters. The return of Saunders will allow the D’backs to:
1. Develop more and take it easy with Skaggs and Bauer
2. Have an innings eater veteran
3. Be prepared (having Skaggs and Bauer major league ready in the minors) to step up if one of the starting 5 gets injured.
4. Healthy competition of 8 solid starters (including Miley).
5. If Gibby decides to have Skaggs or Bauer in the 5th spot, this will allows the D’backs to have a nice back up plan if one of this youngsters can’t perform and need to go back to the minors

Can’t wait for next season, KT has made very intelligent moves this offseason.

Bombercules
3 years 7 months ago

How is this good? Dbacks could have had Kuroda for a little more or Colon for way less. Both are better than Saunders. It might not be a huge difference, but still you have to optimize your team everywhere you can.

BrandonDbacks
3 years 7 months ago

Colon better than Saunders? LOL

Bombercules
3 years 7 months ago

Colon projects to be hovering around a 7 K/9, Saunders might get up to 5 if he’s lucky. Saunders had a ridiculously lucky year and even then he wasn’t that good.

3 years 7 months ago

k/9 isn’t everything, and how can you say that Saunders had a lucky year but Colon didn’t?

Bombercules
3 years 7 months ago

I told myself I wouldn’t reply to this, but Saunders had an ERA over a run under his FIP. Colon was slightly over his FIP whilst dealing with Yankee Stadium park factors.

Disgustedfan
3 years 7 months ago

Saunders has a track record of a guy with a 4.00 to 4.50 ERA and he goes 200 innings a year. That is actually good production from a 5th starter. Colon has a track record of being overweight and making 15 starts a year.

SouthPawRyno
3 years 7 months ago

 You don’t have very good control of yourself then… Anyways, I would say playing in Arizona has similar park factors to that of Yankee stadium (if not worse). And with that Saunders pitched rather well, is younger, and he’s left-handed, which is what their rotation would have lacked if Towers signed Colon.

SouthPawRyno
3 years 7 months ago

 You don’t have very good control of yourself then… Anyways, I would say playing in Arizona has similar park factors to that of Yankee stadium (if not worse). And with that Saunders pitched rather well, is younger, and he’s left-handed, which is what their rotation would have lacked if Towers signed Colon.

Disgustedfan
3 years 7 months ago

Colon is a fat boy why would you want him. My favorite team the A’s signed him and I was thinking why. Wont it be ironic that a fat guy like that will have the letters athletics on his chest lol

melonis_rex
3 years 7 months ago

“We’re not selling jeans here” 

AlexMLB
3 years 7 months ago

Sorry but Colon is not better than Saunders. Kuroda may be, but he signed for the Yankees. Yankees have more $ and prestige than the D’backs, which is probably why Kuroda didn’t sign with Arizona. Also D’backs need a lefty in their starting rotation.

Bombercules
3 years 7 months ago

Of qualified starters, how many had a worse K/9 than Saunders last year? Three pitchers, all from the AL Central.

Saunders would have been horrible if he didn’t get so many double plays behind him, and no he cannot “dial up the double play” his GB% isn’t even particularly high.

vtadave
3 years 7 months ago

Dave – Strikeout rate isn’t everything. Saunders had a respectable 4.38 xFIP last year, and he’s started 31 or more games in each of the last four seasons. No one is saying he’s a stud, but on a reasonable one-year deal, that’s a solid enough No. 5 type starter, no?

craiginphoenix
3 years 7 months ago

They tried to sign Colon and Kuroda and both of them turned the DBacks down.  What are they supposed to do?  Hold them hostage? 

Bombercules
3 years 7 months ago

Sorry, where did you read this? And what did they offer?

craiginphoenix
3 years 7 months ago

On this site and all over the place.  It was well reported over the last week we were trying to get Colon and it was reported earlier that we offered Kuroda 12 – 13 million before he signed with the Yankees for less.  It takes 2 to tango.

Bombercules
3 years 7 months ago

Can you link to the Kuroda thing? that was never on MLBTR. And just because they were “interested” in Colon doesn’t mean they made an offer.

BrandonDbacks
3 years 7 months ago

they had an offer out to Kuroda for 2-3 weeks before they withdrew it and signed Kubel instead.

3 years 7 months ago

Just search Kuroda, it’s all over this site.  Might as well search Colon too, and make sure to brush after every meal.

John McFadin
3 years 7 months ago

Definitely try being more hostile.  /sarcasm

gmenfan
3 years 7 months ago

Yeah, Oakland offered enrollment in the “Cupcake of the Month Club” so it was a no-brainer for Colon.

Tko11
Tko11
3 years 7 months ago

They were more likely looking for an innings eater which is what Saunders is. Kuroda is too expensive for them and Colon is not a good bet to give them 200 innings. 

3 years 7 months ago

I remember when the Angels traded him to get Haren and one of the guys on mlb tonight (probably mitch williams) said oh it is a wash cause they are really the same talent level! what a joke of a statement although he is good but maybe a number 5 starter good.

Tko11
Tko11
3 years 7 months ago

Haha yeah him and Reynolds are pretty horrible with their trade proposals. 

3 years 7 months ago

I would rather have Saunders more than Colon or Kuroda.

Disgustedfan
3 years 7 months ago

Good sign. Durable back end of the rotation kind of guy. Not to many teams have 5th starters like saunders. A rotation of kennedy hudson saunders cahill and collmenter thats pretty nice. Plus skaggs and bauer coming soon and archie bradley. This team is set up real nice for the future and this year. Good work dbacks.

SixAces
3 years 7 months ago

No frills solid move, is it safe to say that there is a high chance of the snakes in 2012 post season?

DbacksAreBeast
3 years 7 months ago

I love this signing, we did everything right this offseason!

3 years 7 months ago

Joe Saunders is a decent signing move, and it is extremely low-risk since they have good depth, and he is taking the 5th rotation spot.  However, I think some people may be pushing that he is better than he actually is.  Someone suggested that Colon or Kuroda would have been better options, and I actually agree with him.  

First off, Kuroda is a no-brainer.  He is clearly better and has been much more consistent in the years previous, his ERA, WHIP, K/9, BB/9, FIP, xFIP, GB% all have been much better over the last few years.  Going back four years, Saunders had a WAR of 5.6, whereas Kuroda has a WAR of 12.2.  Granted Kuroda is a #2 type starter, and Saunders has always been a #4 or #5, but when you could get someone who has posted double the Wins Above Replacement that you just signed, for only $4 million more, I dunno, seems like a loss to me.  I think the Yankees got Kuroda at a slight bargain.  Especially on a one-year deal.

Secondly, I say Colon would be better simply based on the IF he can put up 175+ IP this season and not get injured.  If he is injured the following points are completely moot.  Last season he did have a higher ERA (4.00 to 3.69), but when you factor in everything and look at the FIP (3.83 – Colon, to 4.78 – Saunders) and the xFIP (3.57 to 4.38) you see a stark difference in the quality of the pitcher.  And yes, K/9 doesn’t tell the whole story, but it sure tells you the type of stuff a pitcher has.  Given that Saunders induced so many double-plays with a less than stellar GB%, you’d expect that number to go down.  Furthermore, you’d expect with a LD% of 21.0% someone to have an ERA north 4.00, not 3.69.  Yes Saunders is the #5, so a 4.00 ERA is acceptable, but I personally believe the D-Backs could have taken a much more feasible risk in signing Colon for a 1/3 of the cost they signed Saunders for.

Just my take.  The D-Backs still have solid rotation, Saunders or none.

Bombercules
3 years 7 months ago

Holy crap thank you.

James Attwood
3 years 7 months ago

Kuroda would certainly have been a stronger signing. I don’t think anyone disagees with that. He was also offered almost twice as much and decided to keep playing the market instead so the Dbacks signed Kubel instead. In reality, I would rather have a combination of Saunders/Kubel for less than $2MM more than for just Kuroda alone.

Colon on the other hand is a different story. He too turned down the Dbacks to go to the A’s. He obviously signed for less than Saunders, but I’m not sure it’s a no-brainer he would have been a better fit for the Dbacks than Saunders. One thing the Dbacks needed out of a starter is game depth. Colon would be lucky to have 150 IP for a NL team. In close games he will almost always be getting pulled for running/hitting, and his track-record says he will break down at least once and maybe for good. Saunders gives 200 IP.

Where Colon comes cheap, he almost guarantees a NEED to call up Bauer to start filling in as a starter. With Saunders, the track record says that barring injury to one of the rotation (4/5 of which are 200 IP guys) Bauer comes up when his performance mandates it instead.

Saunders is a solid #4/5 pitcher. No, he doesn’t have a great GB%, but he has always performed better than his peripherals would suggest. And after watching the guy pitch for the last 4 seasons, it is easy to make an argument that he actually CAN “dial up” the double play when needed.

Then there’s the fact that Saunders is a lefty and the Dbacks still needed one. Colon is a righty. Saunders can hit, run, and field and will pitch 200 Ip. Colon will pitch and then be benched and MIGHT get 150 IP.

For me, I take Saunders, a known quantity that continues to let me develop my young talent on my timeline over a very large question mark in Colon.

gmenfan
3 years 7 months ago

I think the innings question is a significant one for Colon. He hasn’t hit the 175 inning mark since 2005 and didn’t break the 65 inning plateau in several of the seasons in between. He’s up there in age, injury prone, and went from not throwing a single pitch in 2010 to throwing 165 innings in 2011. Who knows what you are going to get in 2012 but it leaves a big question as to whether he can be counted on as an inning eater in the 4/5 spot.

3 years 7 months ago

Joe Saunders is a decent signing move, and it is extremely low-risk since they have good depth, and he is taking the 5th rotation spot.  However, I think some people may be pushing that he is better than he actually is.  Someone suggested that Colon or Kuroda would have been better options, and I actually agree with him.  

First off, Kuroda is a no-brainer.  He is clearly better and has been much more consistent in the years previous, his ERA, WHIP, K/9, BB/9, FIP, xFIP, GB% all have been much better over the last few years.  Going back four years, Saunders had a WAR of 5.6, whereas Kuroda has a WAR of 12.2.  Granted Kuroda is a #2 type starter, and Saunders has always been a #4 or #5, but when you could get someone who has posted double the Wins Above Replacement that you just signed, for only $4 million more, I dunno, seems like a loss to me.  I think the Yankees got Kuroda at a slight bargain.  Especially on a one-year deal.

Secondly, I say Colon would be better simply based on the IF he can put up 175+ IP this season and not get injured.  If he is injured the following points are completely moot.  Last season he did have a higher ERA (4.00 to 3.69), but when you factor in everything and look at the FIP (3.83 – Colon, to 4.78 – Saunders) and the xFIP (3.57 to 4.38) you see a stark difference in the quality of the pitcher.  And yes, K/9 doesn’t tell the whole story, but it sure tells you the type of stuff a pitcher has.  Given that Saunders induced so many double-plays with a less than stellar GB%, you’d expect that number to go down.  Furthermore, you’d expect with a LD% of 21.0% someone to have an ERA north 4.00, not 3.69.  Yes Saunders is the #5, so a 4.00 ERA is acceptable, but I personally believe the D-Backs could have taken a much more feasible risk in signing Colon for a 1/3 of the cost they signed Saunders for.

Just my take.  The D-Backs still have solid rotation, Saunders or none.

nats2012
3 years 7 months ago

Im not saying this because of this move but the DBacks look like they are gonna be a a great team for many years to come. With the young offensive core they have plus all the young pitching they have and have on the way. Watch out.

DbacksAreBeast
3 years 7 months ago

I’m not just saying this because of the Joe Saunders signing…But, I really believe that we will go to the playoffs and win a World Series. Say what you want, its just my take on our core. This are some projections from my point of view…(if these players play the whole season)

Catcher – Miguel Montero : I think he his a great catcher to have both offensively and defensively. I see him as are 5th spot hitter. He is a left hand hitter, so that’s highly valuable as well. My Projections : .274 Avg, 19 HR, 88 RBI, 0 SB

1st Base – Paul Goldscmidt : Golllllllldscmidt!!!!! One of the league’s best young first baseman. Tons of upside, Tons of power. He had a great post-season hitting .438 with 2 home runs and 6 rbis in 4 games. I see the young rookie in his first whole season getting : .267 avg, 26 HR, 76 RBI, 5 SB.  

2nd Base – Aaron Hill : One of The league’s best 2nd baseman hitter in 2009, hitting .286 with 36 Homers and 108 Runs batted in. Then in the 2011 season Hill finished with a miserable .246 avg, while hitting only 8 home runs and getting 61 rbis. But, the is still hope for the 29 year old as he enters his seventh season. Hopefully he can have a bounce back year and get around : .270 avg, 18 HR, 79 RBIs, 10 SB.

Short Stop – Stephen Drew : ohh Stephen…please, please show the league what you can do with a full healthy season. My projections : .278 avg, 16 HR, 80 RBIs, 15 SB.

3rd Base – Ryan Roberts : Everyone Knows that Tat-man’s breakout season was a fluke, look for the guy to do about this : .261 avg, 17 HR, 65 RBIs, 16 SB. 

Left Field – Jason Kubel : The left handed power hitter needs a healthy bounce back year. I think he will finish with : .287 avg, 26 HR, 81 RBIs, 0 SB

Center Field – Chris Young : In the 2012 season I see Young getting : .246 avg, 27 HR, 88 RBI, 26SB.

Right Fielder – Justin Upton : J-Up the 25 year old stud. He is the franchise player and he will show it. look for Upton getting around : .302 avg, 35 HR, 100 RBI, 21 SB.

Starting Pitching :

1) Ian Kennedy – Woah! everyone said when they saw Ian pitch last year. Look for him to get slightly worse statistics : 17-7, 3.09 ERA, 178 K’s. 

2) Daniel Hudson – Hudson is a work horse, he still has some upside so look for a improved year : 17-9, 3.20 ERA, 180 K’s

3) Trevor Cahill – We got Cahill in a trade from the A’s this off season. I am very happy with the deal, Cahill is only 23! Yes you read that correctly, 23 years old. Still has up side. I see him putting up : 15-10, 3.30 ERA, 154 K’s. 

4) Joe Saunders – Saunders was a free agent, but we gladly brought him back. The Southpaw innings eater should produce the same stat line as last year, if not slightly worse. 10-11, 3.89 ERA, 105 K’s. 

5) Josh Collmenter – Hmm…Collmenter, we will see either a suprisingly good season or an awful one from him. Too hard to tell…I got nothing.

Relief:

Are additions of Saito and Breslow should help out our bullpen. I love Putz and Hernandez, hopefully they can repeat the year they had.

Overall: 

I am pleased as a D-Backs Fan of how this underdog team has improved so much…I can’t wait for a suspenseful 2012 season.

Thanks for reading, post your ideas below. ><

Tko11
Tko11
3 years 7 months ago

I will take the under on most of your predicted stats. Saunders has once in his career put up an era of under 4 and that was last year at age 30. 

sleeper13
3 years 7 months ago

What about 2008? He had a 3.41 era and won 17 games.

Tko11
Tko11
3 years 7 months ago

Missed that year, my bad. I still say his era is more likely to be in the low 4s. 

Tko11
Tko11
3 years 7 months ago

I will take the under on most of your predicted stats. Saunders has once in his career put up an era of under 4 and that was last year at age 30. 

James Attwood
3 years 7 months ago

Though I truly love your optomism, those are some REALLY generous numbers on some of the players.

Montero: Seems about right

Goldy: If he pts up those numbers he’s a lock for ROY, but I would still be happy with a much more pedestrian .245-.250/20 HR/65 RBI as he goes back and forth between being figured out and making adjustments.

Hill: Probably not hitting for .270, but he’s actually one of the big wild cards. Would the real Aaron Hill please stand up?

Drew: Still questions about whether or not he’ll be ready for Opening Day. The signings of BOTH Bloomquist and McDonald suggest that the Dbacks are in no hurry to rush him back. If he wants them to pick up the $10MM option, he better play his best ball ever. .270/ 15 HR/ 55 RBI out of the leadoff spot once he’s healthy and if he even finished the year with the team.

Roberts: If Roberts plays up to what you have predicted, even THAT will be considered a generous bonus.

Add in 25-30 SBs for Young in the OF and it looks pretty close.

I would expect Kennedy, Hudson, and Cahill all to pitch closer to the 3.50-3.65 mark than the low 3s. Expect Hudson’s K total to go up though as he continues to develop a 3rd pitch.

Saunders pitches to a 4-4.2 ERA but gives 32 starts and 200 IP giving the Dbacks everything they hoped for

Collmenter is an effective 5th starter that becomes the long man out of the bullpen when Bauer gets called up. Probably has close to a 4.00 ERA, but continues to baffle hitters at least once through the lineup.

With a stable of innings eaters in the atarting rotation, Saito/Hernandez/Putz at the tail end of the bullpen really shortens games.

DbacksAreBeast
3 years 7 months ago

^^^^^^^^^^^