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, Marlins, Tigers 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.