The Seattle Mariners have agreed to terms on a one year contract with left-hander Joe Saunders, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. The deal will be finalized once Saunders passes a physical. Financial details are not yet known.
Multiple teams – including the Baltimore Orioles, New York Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres, and Minnesota Twins – were linked to the 31 year old this offseason. He reportedly was hoping for a three year deal somewhere and while there were rumors of two year offers on the table at various points, it would appear as though Saunders settled for a one year deal to join the Mariners rotation. With a solid season at pitcher-friendly Safeco Field he could re-enter the free agent market next winter. Saunders could slide into the middle of the Mariners rotation, a spot Jason Vargas occupied last season before being dealt to the Los Angeles Angels.
Saunders spent the 2012 season between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Baltimore Orioles, making 28 starts on the year. He was 9-13 on the year, with a 4.07 ERA and 1.340 WHIP over 174.2 IP. He’s topped that innings mark in each of the last five seasons and should help pitch some innings for the Mariners this season. Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma will likely lead the staff, with Erasmo Ramirez and Blake Beaven the favorites for the final two spots in the rotation. The team also has Hector Noesi to provide depth until either Danny Hultzen or James Paxton are ready for a promotion to the Major Leagues.