UPDATE: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that Saunders will make $6.5 million and could earn an additional $1 million with incentives. The deal includes a mutual option for 2014.
4:49 PM: It’s not official yet, but Joe Saunders has agreed to a one-year deal with the Mariners and Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com says it’ll be worth “around $7 million” in guaranteed money.
That’s basically the same contract Brett Myers got from the Indians and a step above one-year deals secured by guys like Shaun Marcum, John Lannan, Jeff Karstens, Mike Pelfrey, Scott Baker, and Jason Marquis this offseason.
Saunders had his sights set on a multi-year deal after throwing 175 innings with a 4.07 ERA for the Diamondbacks and Orioles last season and the 32-year-old left-hander was linked to a fair number of teams, but ultimately none made him a priority.
Saunders will basically replace Jason Vargas in the rotation after the Mariners traded him to the Angels for Kendrys Morales.
An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.
As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.
While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.