While the Twins have added several veteran pitchers in the off-season, much attention had been focused on whether they would be successful in pursuit of veteran left-hander Joe Saunders, who joined Baltimore in August and was part of the late-season success that got the Orioles to the playoffs. (No, it wasn't just the Lew Ford pick-up!)
A Twins fan's reference for that could be: See Pavano, Carl; 2009.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports was the first to report Thursday evening that Saunders had agreed to a one-year deal with the Seattle Mariners. Rosenthal wrote that the Mariners see Saunders, 31, as being a replacement for Jason Vargas, who they traded to the Angels for first baseman/DH Kendrys Morales.
Saunders was 3-3 with a 3.63 ERA in seven starts for Baltimore and was the starting pitcher in Game 4 of the American League Divisional Series against the Yankees. That was the 13-inning game Baltimore won 2-1.
The attraction of Seattle as opposed to Minnesota? It could likely be Safeco Field, which is a nice place for pitchers -- and has been quite good to Saunders. He has started nine games at Safeco, all but one of them early in his career when he was with the Angels.
The results: A 6-0 record and 2.13 ERA in nine starts.
According to many reports, Saunders had been seeking a three-year deal, but pitching at Safeco may be the next best thing. The Baltimore Sun's Eduardo A. Encina wrote that pitching at Safeco "sets him up well for a good season before heading back into free agency."
Several times in recent weeks, Twins officials have said that the roster as currently constructed, even with changes already made this winter, could change more before the start of the regular season. With Saunders no longer an option, we'll see what else the team will pursue -- or whether they will.
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