According to John Gambadoro of 620 KTAR in Phoenix, Joe Saunders has cleared waivers. The upshot is that the Diamondbacks can now trade him to any team.
Saunders, 31, has a 4.22 ERA and 89/31 K/BB ratio in 130 innings over 21 starts this season and is due to hit free agency this winter. The Diamondbacks enter play this evening at 64-61 on the year, six games behind the Giants in the National League West and 4 1/2 back in the Wild Card, so they are still alive in playoff race, but they could be motivated to move him and give some of their young arms a shot down the stretch. Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reported earlier this week that the Orioles have shown the most interest in Saunders.
On a related note, Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson confirmed to Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona tonight that the team will utilize six starters for now, which means Tyler Skaggs will remain in the starting rotation. Skaggs allowed two runs on three hits and five walks over 6 2/3 innings Wednesday in his major league debut against the Marlins.
Rays manager Kevin Cash said that pitcher Nathan Eovaldi will join the starting rotation on Monday or Tuesday to face the Athletics, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Eovaldi’s rehab outing with Triple-A Durham went well, even though he gave up eight runs in four innings.
Eovaldi, 28, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2016 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He had arthroscopic surgery in March to remove loose bodies in his elbow. It’s been a long road back. Knowing Eovaldi needed to recover from surgery, the Rays signed him to a one-year, $2 million contract in 2017 that included a $2 million club option for 2018 that they exercised last November.
When Eovaldi last pitched, he ranked among baseball’s hardest throwers, particularly among starters. He averaged 97.1 MPH on his fastball in 2016. Among starters who racked up at least 100 innings that season, only the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard had a higher average velocity (97.9 MPH). It remains to be seen if he still has that velocity after undergoing two procedures on his elbow.
The Rays will be glad to have Eovaldi back. The club has sustained injuries to Jake Faria, Yonny Chirinos, and Jose De Leon.