Joe Saunders wanted to stay in Arizona, but Diamondbacks “wanted to go a different direction”

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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.