Rangers Sign Joe Saunders

FRIDAY: Saunders can earn up to $3.65MM if he makes the club and hits all of the incentives in his contract, according to the Associated Press. Just $250K of Saunders' $500K base salary is guaranteed.

If Saunders makes the roster, his salary will jump to $1.5MM, as previously reported by Heyman. He also receives a $500K bonus for 90 days on the active roster. Saunders will receive an additional $150K for reaching each of 130, 140, 150, 160, 170 and 180 innings. He'll earn $250K for reaching each of 190, 200 and 210 innings. He can also earn between $25K and $100K for various awards bonuses.

WEDNESDAY, 10:00am: Saunders is guaranteed just $500K but will earn $1.5MM, plus incentives, if he makes the Major League roster, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter).

9:34am: The Rangers announced today that they have signed left-hander Joe Saunders to a one-year, Major League contract. Financial terms remain in unknown, though reports have indicated that it is a non-guaranteed deal, suggesting that it could be in the mold of Tommy Hanson's one-year, split Major League contract with Texas that pays him a separate salary in the minors should he not make the big league club.

Saunders, 32, promises to add depth to the back of a Texas rotation mix that has increasingly looked in need of it. Derek Holland is going to miss the entire first half, Matt Harrison is still working back from surgery (and had a more recent injury scare), and other options come with a variety of uncertainties. 

Working for the Mariners last year, Saunders struggled to a 5.26 ERA in 183 innings. That was the worst full-season mark of his career, however, as the southpaw had thrown at least 174 2/3 innings and posted between a 3.41 and 4.60 ERA over his previous five seasons.

Advanced metrics thought his 2013 season was better than the resuls, as he posted a 4.72 FIP, 4.23 xFIP, and 4.42 SIERA. However, those numbers remain underwhelming, and a look at advanced stats also tends to place a negative spin on some of Saunders' more productive previous years. Indeed, he has never finished a year below the 4.00 line by any of those measures.

The signing was first reported by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first tweeted that it was a MLB deal, with Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeting that it was of the non-guaranteed variety.

Steve Adams contributed to this post.

74 Responses to Rangers Sign Joe Saunders Leave a Reply

  1. Marcatmeowmeow 1 year ago

    “Take that, Ian Kinsler.” – Jon Daniels

  2. RC 1 year ago

    Only 2 years ago he ended their season. Now he’s pitching for them.

    • disadvantage 1 year ago

      Yep, they ended their season in a one game playoff against Saunders.

      Hopefully if the Rangers are in that spot again, they don’t end their season in a one game playoff with Saunders.

  3. kungfucampby 1 year ago

    “A proven winner with playoff experience!” — Arizona Diamondbacks Management.

  4. Matt Mccarron 1 year ago

    I guess its a good depth pick up. Hes always been a guy who can eat innings, even if he does let up a few runs. With a lineup like Texas, he should be able to get away with 3-4 earned over 7 innings.

    • leowalter 1 year ago

      ” Let up few runs ” ? That’s funny. Saunders has been pretty bad,and isn’t even a good 5th.

      • Matt Mccarron 1 year ago

        I mean’t that more in a.. he’ll give up his fair share of runs, but with a solid lineup behind him and great defense, lets see what happens.

  5. MadmanTX 1 year ago

    It is what it is–a guy to fill out the rotation. At least, Saunders will have run support.

    • King Kyle 1 year ago

      You have the figure he’ll be giving the opposing team some run support as well.

      • ChrisV 1 year ago

        He will give the opposing team some run support, but not as much as a “not ready” inexperienced minor league prospect.

  6. Nigel 1 year ago

    “gets a MLB deal” its a bold strategy cotton, let’s see how it plays out for them

    • kdub53 1 year ago

      maybe his games will be televised on ESPN 8!! THE OCHO!

  7. bus035 1 year ago

    A flyball pitcher that couldn’t keep the balls within the confines of Safeco Field. Good luck in Arlington.

  8. chad 1 year ago

    An innings eater but he will be decimated in Arlington..

  9. Maxxx Depth 1 year ago

    he will go 16-3 with a 6.20 era for us.

    • Ben-Dessa Anderton 1 year ago

      We got a winner then.

      • Maxxx Depth 1 year ago

        but i’m a big believer that if the clubhouse is good, it can help turn around a guys career. Not expecting anything huge from Saunders, but i think he’s very capable of a 4 flat.

        • Ben-Dessa Anderton 1 year ago

          I’d be happy with a 4.50 honestly.

    • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

      Yu Darvish only had 13 W with a 2.83 ERA last year…

      • Ben-Dessa Anderton 1 year ago

        I am going way out on a limb, but, I think he was kidding.

      • Maxxx Depth 1 year ago

        basically saying we have more offense now compared to last year. If we hit with RISP this year, i would expect Darv to have close to 20 wins. I was being sarcastic about Joey S.

        • Ben-Dessa Anderton 1 year ago

          how does this sarcasm thing work?

      • goat 1 year ago

        Well with the king of pop-up to the infield gone to Detroit, I think the run production will up drastically. 147 pop-ups in 600 at bats is significant. I hope the Tigers are ready for that. There was a good reason that Cabrera and Braun won MVP’s, and his name is Prince.

  10. wesleyisme 1 year ago

    He will start in games only against Oakland

  11. Edgar4evar 1 year ago

    Yeeesss, Rangers. You have saved us from re-signing Joe Saunders. Now, fulfill your destiny. Sign Morales and give us another draft pick.

    • Daniel Morairity 1 year ago

      they will sign kendrys morales and trade moreland and fyi the rangers are 1-4 in spring training and they need morales

      • Mike 1 year ago

        Usually, teams that do terrible in Spring Training tend to do well in the regular season.

        Boston – 17-17 in 2013
        San Francisco 18-15 in 2012
        St. Louis 14-16 in 2011

        • Matt Mccarron 1 year ago

          So you saying the 1-5 Phillies will be amazing?

        • Edgar4evar 1 year ago

          My theory of spring training records comes from Rocky. A team full of guys trying to make the team will outplay an opponent full of guys just “getting their work in” like Rocky could compete against Apollo who was fighting like it was an exhibition. So a team with a really good spring record (especially early on) might well be a team with a lot of open spots. Teams that are solid probably do worse.

          According to this theory a good team will “kick it in” around the end of spring when the regulars can see opening day approaching and they know they need to get serious. So a good team should be around the .500 mark. Looks about right for the last three world champs. And the Mariners are 6-1 and have all kinds of open spots. Yep.

      • outlawsundown 1 year ago

        Spring Training games don’t mean anything. These are the games where pitchers go out and throw a ton of pitches they’re working on. If they’re working on a change up they’ll throw a ton of them. Plus you have minor league players just there to get some experience.

      • dwarfstar 1 year ago

        Spring training games do not mean anything, Kansas City and Seattle came in 1-2 in spring 2013 and look where they both finished the season!!!!!

        • Nunya Bizniz 1 year ago

          You’re absolutely right. Those spring training rosters are full of wannabes and didn’t makeits. Thats how managers assess talent. Win/loss records mean nothing when you have rookies pitching, or playing key spots and making errors. Why do people even look at win/loss preseason records? Just look at individual stats. Thats where the regular season information lives.

    • Maxxx Depth 1 year ago

      i’d love to have Morales for a good deal. We have a great farm so i could stand to lose a Pick for a 3/30 deal

  12. Lefty_Orioles_Fan 1 year ago

    If you can’t beat him, sign him! =P

    • Ben-Dessa Anderton 1 year ago

      Haha. They never could hit this guy.

  13. Daniel Franklin 1 year ago

    In a radio interview with the G-Bag Nation on 105.3 The Fan, Derek Holland said that he was way ahead of schedule. That might be pure optimism, but the way he was talking made me believe him. Hopefully, we will see him before the All-Star break.

  14. section 34 1 year ago

    Would you rather have Johan Santana or Joe Saunders? The Orioles chose the former but will pay more for him.

    • snowbladerp14 1 year ago

      completely depends on the team Saunders will probably give u 175 innings of 4.5 era ball where Santana will either give u a half a season of 3.6 era ish ball or nothing at all

    • Taylor Hope 1 year ago

      Both are shots in the dark. As an M’s fan, I experienced enough Saunders for my liking. I’d take Santana.

    • Santana is being brought to camp as a reliever not a starter whereas Saunders projects as a starter.

      • tim213 1 year ago

        Santana is going to be a starter if all goes well with the rehab

    • tim213 1 year ago

      Santana every time

    • goat 1 year ago

      I am surprised that baltimore signed someone who was never a Ranger.

  15. snowbladerp14 1 year ago

    what is a non-guaranteed major league contract vs a minor league contract

    • Daniel Franklin 1 year ago

      I’m going to assume that it means if he makes the Major League roster, he’s on the team, otherwise he’s a free agent.
      Unlike a minor league deal where if they don’t make the Major League roster, they are obligated to play in the minor leagues for the team.

      • snowbladerp14 1 year ago

        yea that is what me and my friend came up with to i just have never heard the term. makes sense but kind of weird

    • outlawsundown 1 year ago

      Basically they’re offered so much if they make the major league roster. If they don’t make it they get a smaller fee and end up back in free agency.

  16. wadesawko 1 year ago

    Seattle approves of this deal.

  17. Daniel Dubay 1 year ago

    Someone please tell me the logistical differences between a non guaranteed major league deal and a minor league deal with a major league invite,

  18. Joe Orsatti 1 year ago

    You can;t judge this deal until a figure is given out. It’s a non-guaranteed MLB contract which would generally level out to be anywhere between $1mm-$2.5mm. If the deal is any more expensive than that, then Daniels got ROBBED

    • Ben-Dessa Anderton 1 year ago

      safe to judge now?

      • Joe Orsatti 1 year ago

        Yea, It’s a damn good deal for Daniels

        • Ben-Dessa Anderton 1 year ago

          Yeah I think so as well. Plenty will point out his deficiencies but to get a MLB experienced SP for that price is a solid deal. Assuming he makes the rotation/roster. I don’t see many reasons he won’t. This allows someone like Tepesch to pitch in AAA, Ross to stick to his middle to late inning role and Scheppers pitch late in games. Anyone that expects a less than 4 ERA with Saunders is mistaken but by the end of the season, one would think he is the #4 or 5 guy anyway.

          • Maxxx Depth 1 year ago

            I’d still like Tepesch as the #5….assuming colby or harrison is back…

          • Ben-Dessa Anderton 1 year ago

            the hard part is assuming either of those two are good to go…

          • Maxxx Depth 1 year ago

            I honestly think we’re more likely to see Colby than Harry..Which i would be happy with a healthy Colby in the #2 spot. Dude is a postseason BEAST…Unlike Cj.

          • Ben-Dessa Anderton 1 year ago

            I think Colby will bounce back. The road he has traveled has been a rocky one, he will make it back. The Harrison situation is bothersome.

  19. Ben-Dessa Anderton 1 year ago

    Maybe Tommy Hanson and Joe Saunders will = half a decent pitcher? Beats overpaying Santana though, Earvin that is.

  20. Ben-Dessa Anderton 1 year ago

    Financial terms unknown, maybe he is playing for free?

  21. RyanWKrol 1 year ago

    “and a look at advanced stats also tends to place a negative spin on some of Saunders’ more productive previous years”

    When Saunders was with the Angels, he was never regarded as anything close to a front line starting pitcher. He was just a guy who gave a lot of innings at the back end of their rotation, and helped save their bullpen. He was well liked by the whole fan base. It was sad to see him go. But as far as his advanced stats go, he was never overrated. He just did his job. I don’t know if he’ll ever be the same; this could be a bargain chip for the Rangers, or it could further illustrate the impact of Holland’s injury. Either way, Saunders is still probably one of the better depth options in this market.

    • Ben-Dessa Anderton 1 year ago

      I can fully agree with everything you said. For 500K its worth the gamble. If he makes the rotation, well he will certainly be worth a little over a million bucks.

  22. Danny Phillips 1 year ago

    I’d enjoy just $500K

    • Ben-Dessa Anderton 1 year ago

      beats the time spent at work and the pay I get for the year.

  23. Sufferfortribe 1 year ago

    Was hoping the Tribe would have given Saunders a look. Considering we don’t have a LHP in our rotation, and the fact we’ve brought in just about every body available to ‘showcase’ their talents for us, this would have been a no-brainer. Good luck, Joe.

  24. DoobieDave 1 year ago

    Enjoy a whole lot of nothing…just glad he’s not in Seattle anymore

  25. Nunya Bizniz 1 year ago

    Thats how a baseball contract should be set up. If the player produces, they get paid. Otherwise….see ya! Just look at all the players sucking up big paychecks for no or little return. I hope Joe makes all 3.65M this year. No pressure Joe.

  26. The_Unnatural 1 year ago

    I can’t wait for my M’s to face him.

  27. Richard Sherman 1 year ago

    I do

  28. Daniel Franklin 1 year ago

    Of course you do. Teammates support each other, and Russell Wilson is a Texas Ranger.

  29. Daniel Morairity 1 year ago

    hey richard sherman russell wilson might be coming to the majors soon

  30. Richard Sherman 1 year ago

    Yep that’s right.

  31. Ben-Dessa Anderton 1 year ago

    Just keep being the best Dick.

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