Joe Saunders gets major league deal from Rangers

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UPDATE: It’s a done deal, with a slight surprise: Saunders is getting a major-league contract. That means he’s got a 40-man roster spot and, barring something unforeseen, will be on the Opening Day roster.

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Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that the Rangers are close to a deal with free agent left-hander Joe Saunders.

Last offseason Seattle deemed Saunders worthy of a $6.5 million investment, but he was awful for the Mariners with a 5.26 ERA and .311 opponents’ batting average in 32 starts at age 32.

Prior to last year Saunders was generally a decent third or fourth starter, eating innings with an ERA right around league average, so this close to Opening Day he’s a nice, cheap depth pickup for the Rangers with Derek Holland and Matt Harrison hurting.

Red Sox reportedly listening to offers on Rick Porcello

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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Red Sox are “openly listening” to offers for Rick Porcello. He says that the idea is to shed some salary for bullpen help, though just yesterday Dave Dombrowski said he was not planning on spending a lot of money on the bullpen this winter so who friggin’ knows?

Porcello posted a 4.28 ERA in 33 starts this past season. He is owed $21 million in 2019 and will be a free agent this time next year. Seems hard to imagine a deal that makes sense for him, but I suppose anything can happen.