The Diamondbacks couldn’t come to terms with Joe Saunders on either a one- or a two-year deal and have chosen to non-tender the left-hander, according to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal.
Micah Owings, who did a nice job against righties out of the bullpen last season, will also be let go.
Saunders went 12-13 with a 3.69 ERA in his first full season in Arizona after being acquired in 2010 in the Dan Haren deal. The 30-year-old has a lifetime record of 69-52 and a 4.16 ERA.
The Diamondbacks, though, must believe a decline was on the way. While his ERA was well down last season, his peripherals were little better than when he finished with a 4.60 ERA in 2009 and a 4.47 ERA in 2010. He struck out a career-low 4.6 batters per nine innings and gave up 29 homers in his 33 starts.
Saunders does have durability working for him, and odds are that someone is going to want to pay him at least $7 million per year to come in and serve as a third or fourth starter. Many suspect the Red Sox will be interested, though the guess here is that they’ll pass. The Twins, Marlins, Nationals, Royals and Padres would all seem to be possibilities.
Update (5:04 PM EST): The White Sox will receive pitchers Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Dane Dunning from the Nationals, per Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago. MLB Pipeline rated them No. 1, 3, and 6 in the Nationals’ minor league system.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Nationals are close to acquiring outfielder Adam Eaton from the White Sox. He notes that outfielder Victor Robles, the Nationals’ No. 2 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, is not included in the deal.
Eaton, 28, is signed to a very team-friendly contract. He’ll earn $4 million in 2017, $6 million in ’18, and $8.4 million in ’19. His controlling team then has a club option worth $9.5 million in 2020 with a $1.5 million buyout and a $10.5 million club option in ’21 with a $1.5 million buyout.
This past season, Eaton was worth 3.9 Wins Above Replacement according to Baseball Reference after playing significantly above-average defense while batting .284/.362/.428 with 14 home runs, 59 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases in 706 plate appearances.
If the deal goes through, the Nationals would move Trea Turner from center field to shortstop. Meanwhile, the White Sox continue their teardown after trading Chris Sale to the Red Sox on Tuesday.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that the Marlins have signed veteran catcher A.J. Ellis to a one-year, $2.5 million deal.
Ellis, 35, began the 2016 season with the Dodgers but went to the Phillies in the Carlos Ruiz trade near the end of August. Overall, he hit .216/.301/.298 in 196 plate appearances.
Ellis will back up J.T. Realmuto behind the dish.