The Diamondbacks were discussing a two-year deal with the arbitration-eligible Joe Saunders over the past couple of weeks, but tonight’s acquisition of Trevor Cahill has changed things a bit. In fact, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic hears that Arizona may now trade the veteran left-hander.
Saunders, 30, earned $5.5 million this season while going 12-13 with a 3.69 ERA and 108/67 K/BB ratio over a career-high 212 innings. He stands to make around $8-9 million in his final year of arbitration, which is why the D-Backs were trying to lock him into a multi-year deal for a lower annual salary.
Monday is the deadline for teams to decide whether to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players on their 40-man rosters, so the Diamondbacks are up against the clock to find a match. Piecoro hears that a few teams are interested, including the Red Sox, though his hittable style would seem to be a poor fit in the American League East. While Saunders pitched well (at least superficially) with Arizona this season, he had a career-low strikeout rate while benefitting from a low batting average on balls in play. He probably won’t be so lucky next season, no matter where he pitches.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Pirates will sign reliever Felipe Rivero to a four-year contract extension that includes two club options. The total value of the deal is believed to be $22 million and each club option is worth $10 million.
Rivero, 26, did not come to an agreement with the Pirates to avoid arbitration in his first year of eligibility ahead of last Friday’s deadline. He requested a $2.9 million salary for the 2018 season while the Pirates countered at $2.4 million. This extension will cover all four years of Rivero’s arbitration eligibility and the two club options can cover his first two years of free agency as well.
Rivero was one of baseball’s best relievers last season, finishing with 21 saves, a 1.67 ERA, and an 88/20 K/BB ratio in 75 1/3 innings. The Pirates acquired him from the Nationals along with minor leaguer Taylor Hearn ahead of the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline in the Mark Melancon deal.
Presumably, Rivero’s extension was in the works before he knew anything about the Andrew McCutchen trade. He made a couple of tweets following this afternoon’s news. In one, he used only the “facepalm” emoji. The other was a .gif of The Office character Jim Halpert yelling, “What is going on?”