Earlier in the week, I wrote this article about how if Jeff Francis could help the Pirates rotation. Today, in the second installment of my mini-series, I’m going to take a look at another possible target, Joe Saunders.
Saunders was non-tendered by the Diamondbacks earlier this month, and there have been some teams interested in acquiring his services. The Tigers, Rockies, and Reds all have rumored interest, although the Reds probably aren’t interested anymore with their recent addition of Mat Latos.
The Pirates haven’t been looking for a starting pitcher recently, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t considering it. Saunders is 30 years old and had a pretty solid season last year with a 3.69 ERA, 4.6 K/9, and 2.8 BB/9 in 33 starts with Arizona. Saunders has been an absolute horse over the last four seasons, pitching at least 186 innings every season. For his career, Saunders has a 4.16 ERA with 5.0 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9. At the age of 30, I think he has a few more strong seasons left in him.
Saunders is left-handed, which the Pirates could use since they lost Paul Maholm earlier this offseason. While I doubt it will happen, I think Saunders would be a great addition to the pitching staff. I would absolutely throw him in the rotation above Kevin Correia, Jeff Karstens, and Brad Lincoln. A rotation of Bedard-McDonald-Morton-Saunders and then whoever turns out to be the fifth starter could actually be a competitive rotation.