D'Backs could non-tender Joe Saunders this winter

In his column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo says LHP Joe Saunders could be projected to earn “in the high-$5 million range” through arbitration this winter, and given how he hasn’t lived up to expectations, the Diamondbacks might decide to non-tender him.

In 33 starts for Arizona in 2011, the 30 year old Saunders went 12-13 with a 3.69 ERA in 33 starts and 212 innings, allowing 210 hits and 67 walks and 29 home runs. He is entering his third year of arbitration, and he just completed a one-year, $5.5 million contract he signed with Arizona last January.

Michael Baron: Saunders isn’t going to “wow” anyone with his stuff, but he’s proven to be a durable and steady left handed pitcher who could be a fit, should the Diamondbacks non-tender him next month. He usually sits in the upper 80s to low 90s with his fastball and off-sets that with a good tailing change-up. He pitches to contact and gives up a lot of home runs, but a move to a more pitcher-friendly park would probably reduce that number.

I could see him as a possible upgrade to Chris Capuano as someone who can fill a back-of-the-rotation slot, although I wonder if he would be seeking a multi-year deal should he and the Diamondbacks part ways. Then again, he’s one year from free agency, and so he might be looking to establish a higher market value heading into next winter.



In addition, Cafardo says Cubs GM Theo Epstein will listen to offers for RHP Matt Garza and “just about anyone on his team” in an effort to re-stock their farm system.