In a world where Joe Blanton gets two years with an option, Jeremy Guthrie gets three years and Edwin Jackson gets four, Joe Saunders wants his piece of the pie.
Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports that Saunders was originally seeking a four-year deal last month and is now looking for a three-year deal. While the 31-year-old southpaw told Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun that he would “love to come back to Baltimore,” Encina hears that the O’s are prepared to walk away if he doesn’t lower his demands.
Saunders posted a 4.07 ERA and 112/39 K/BB ratio in 174 2/3 innings last season between the Diamondbacks and Orioles and has made at least 28 starts in five straight seasons. The Mariners, Mets, Padres and Twins are among the other teams who have expressed interest this winter.
Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.
Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.
Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.
Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.