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.
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.