You probably saw the screaming headline: JOE SAUNDERS SIGNS WITH D'BACKS FOR ONE YEAR AND $6 MILLION.
Or not. The biggest news might be that Saunders got a lot less than his agent probably told him he would get. But in the end, he's back with the team for whom he pitched last season. Nick Piecoro tracked down Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers, who presumably is happy to have Saunders back:
Saunders had "offers out there similar to what we had talked about prior to the tender date," Towers said. That is, he had been offered about two years and $12 million from other teams. But apparently they were from clubs on the east coast and Saunders wanted to remain out here. "This is where his home is, where wants to be," Towers said. "He’ll be back with his teammates and hopefully make another run at the NL West. From a selfish standpoint, it could haven’t have worked out better for us."
Towers said that after the signing of outfielder Jason Kubel (two years, $15.5 million), he figured the Diamondbacks and Saunders would part ways. "I’d read his name with Miami, Baltimore, Boston," Towers said. "And we really didn’t have much dialogue after we signed Kubel."
I'm endlessly amused by how many players wind up getting almost exactly what they "deserve". Saunders has been worth roughly $6 million per season over the last three seasons, and now he's getting $6 million. Even though his agent probably told him he was probably going to get a lot more.
Now, today might have been a tough day for Joe Saunders. But if Saunders is lucky -- and I don't write this with anything but compassion -- he'll realize that $6 million is still a great deal of money, and that if he's smart he'll never have to work another day in his life, even if this is his last contract. Which it probably won't be.
Saunders isn't going to set the world on fire. But he's perfectly capable of filling the No. 5 slot for a contending team. You'd rather spend less than $6 million on your No. 5 starter, but if you need one and you've got the money...