May 29, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Joe Saunders (34) pitches during the first inning at AT

Joe Saunders hits disabled list

The Arizona Diamondbacks have placed left-handed starter Joe Saunders on the disabled list, as he has been suffering from a strained left shoulder. Those types of injuries are tricky, as the D’Backs found out when they scratched his start on Friday after believing he was unable to get loose when the real problem lied in his throwing shoulder.

Joe Saunders is the Diamondbacks biggest trade piece right now, because he is pitching well and holds little value to the team at this point. Saunders’s injury is a step back in their plans to trade him, but they’ll have no problem dealing him later when he gets healthy, unless if the injury is more serious than presumed. The Diamondbacks definitely hope that isn’t the case, and the starter’s DL trip is retroactive to the 17th of June.

So far this season, Saunders has been worth 1.2 WAR in 81 innings after being worth just one win last season in over 200 innings. The great thing- and probably the most appealing thing- about Saunders is that he is a durable, workhorse pitcher who is a true innings eater. If you need him to, Saunders is capable of pitching 200 1.5 WAR innings of ball, and he rarely ever gets injured. That track record is a plus, so the southpaw should be back and eating innings before you know it.

At this point, Arizona isn’t going to keep Joe Saunders for much longer and would love to deal him to a pitcher-needy team for a few prospects. He has a 3.44 ERA this season and has raised his strikeouts and pushed down his walks. Saunders never has good peripherals, but he does a solid job of getting grounders and eats innings. He should finish with a 4.20 ERA this year and is about a 1.5 WAR pitcher. He is below-average, but plenty of teams good use him in the back of their rotations.

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Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks Joe Saunders

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