ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets that left-hander Joe Saunders “has a very good chance of returning to the Arizona Diamondbacks on a two-year deal.”
The news comes amid rumors that the arbitration-eligible Saunders was likely to be shopped this winter. While he’s a reliable middle-of-the-rotation guy, Saunders was already one of the Diamondbacks’ highest-paid players at $5.5 million last season and he was looking at a raise to at least $7.5 million next year.
Saunders, who was acquired in the Dan Haren trade with the Angels in 2010, went 12-13 with a 3.69 ERA and a 108/67 K/BB ratio in 212 innings last season. It was his best ERA since 2008, but it was also the lowest strikeout rate of his career, suggesting that the ERA might have been something of a fluke. Saunders came in at 4.60 and 4.47 the previous two seasons.
A two-year deal would take care of Saunders last year of arbitration and first of free agency. A safe guess is that it’d earn him about $16 million.
The Cardinals announced ahead of Tuesday’s series opener against the Reds that pitcher Adam Wainwright has been activated from the 10-day disabled list.
Wainwright, 36, has been absent since mid-August due to a right elbow impingement. The Cardinals plan to use him out of the bullpen through the end of the season. Prior to the injury, the right-hander posted a disappointing 5.12 ERA with a 96/44 K/BB ratio in 121 1/3 innings.
Wainwright is under contract for one more year at $19.5 million before becoming eligible for free agency.
Yankees starter Luis Severino pitched last Friday, putting him on track to start Wednesday’s series finale against the Twins. The Yankees mulled the possibility of pushing him back to start on Friday against the Blue Jays after an off day on Thursday so that the Twins wouldn’t get an early look at Severino in a potential AL Wild Card matchup.
However, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports that Severino will indeed start on Wednesday against the Twins instead of Masahiro Tanaka. Hoch adds that Severino’s preference is to pitch on regular rest.
Severino, 23, has been the Yankees’ best starter this year and would be the most reliable arm in a must-win game. The right-hander is carrying a 13-6 record with a 2.93 ERA and a 218/49 K/BB ratio in 184 1/3 innings.
Entering Tuesday’s action, the Yankees hold a five-game lead over the Twins for the first Wild Card slot. The Twins hold a 1.5-game lead over the Angels for the second slot. The Yankees are also very much in the AL East race, trailing the Red Sox by only three games with 12 games left in the regular season.