Report: Joe Saunders likely to stay with Diamondbacks

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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.

Diamondbacks sign Kris Medlen and Antonio Bastardo to minor-league deals

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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Arizona Diamondbacks have signed pitchers Kris Medlen and Antonio Bastardo to minor-league deals. Medlen will make $1.1 million if he breaks camp with the Snakes. Bastardo will earn at $1.5 million if he makes the team.

Medlen hasn’t pitched in the bigs since 2016 and hasn’t pitched effectively in the bigs since 2013 due to multiple Tommy John surgeries and, more recently, shoulder ailments. Last year he put up a 4.95 ERA in 20 games in the Braves’ minor league system. If he’s healthy he could be a depth guy for the Dbacks in the event one of their big league starters go down.

Bastardo pitched in nine games, ineffectively, for the Pirates before being released last season. He didn’t catch on anywhere else after that so, hey, I guess he’s fresh?