Joe Saunders is being linked to a handful of teams now that he’s a free agent, but the veteran left-hander never wanted to hit the open market in the first place.
Saunders told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that he “really wanted to come back” to the Diamondbacks, but the team “wanted to go a different direction” and non-tendered him rather than pay around $8.5 million via arbitration.
Of course, Saunders had the opportunity to stay. He just didn’t like the Diamondbacks’ two-year, $12 million offer and when he countered at three years and $27 million they “never countered back.”
Saunders repeatedly called his counter offer “very reasonable,” but odds are he won’t get $27 million as a free agent. He should, however, top the two-year, $12 million offer, although that’s certainly no sure thing for a 30-year-old with a 4.16 career ERA and mediocre secondary numbers.
The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.
The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.
This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.
Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.