Orioles trade for Joe Saunders


First off some housekeeping; the Baltimore Orioles were supposed to play the finale of their series with Toronto yesterday at Camden Yards, however the blonde sunshine turned to gray clouds with rain and hail. Yesterday’s game was postponed due to that weather system. Unfortunately that’s the last thing that you want when you’re going as good as the Orioles, however this is part of the game. In the past the Orioles might have taken a “wait and see” approach towards rescheduling the game given that it might not have been necessary if the two teams weren’t in contention. However one of the two teams is in contention (the Orioles); according to Roch Kubatko of masnsports.com, the game will be made up on September 24th as part of a single admission twi-night doubleheader beginning at 4 PM.

The Orioles however did make news yesterday, as they consummated a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Arizona traded starter Joe Saunders and cash to the Orioles for reliever Matt Lindstrom and a PTBNL (they will select that PTBNL from the Orioles after the season). Saunders is a guy in whom, according to Dan Duquette, the Orioles had been interested for some time. He’s a southpaw, and he brings a somewhat disappointing 6-10 record and a 4.22 ERA to the Orioles from Arizona this year. However one thing to note about that is his home and away splits. Saunders was throwing a 5.80 ERA in home games this year at Arizona. That goes down to 2.80 in road games when he’s been on the road. While Camden Yards is certainly a hitters’ park, it’s also not Arizona.

Lindstrom’s a guy that’s been solid for the Orioles in the ‘pen, although he gave up a two-run homer in the 9th on Friday night in what was his final appearance as an Oriole. My personal take on this trade is that it’s a decent one, and that the O’s got the better of it on paper. Keep in mind that this is being said well before either player has made an appearance for their new team. However anytime you can trade a reliever for a starter you’re probably in good shape. Saunders has talent and he’s had some good years as well, but the consensus was that he had worn out his welcome in Arizona and they wanted to get something back for him given that his contract’s up at the end of the year.

So the other question is whether or not this is a rental or if the Orioles might have a chance to re-sign Saunders when the season’s over. That remains to be seen, but I suspect that they aren’t overly concerned about that right at this moment. Saunders is seen as a guy that can help bolster their rotation as they look to make the playoffs for the first time since 1997. Saunders is also somewhat of a local kid,  hailing from nearby Falls Church, VA. He attended West Springfield High School, which is in the same district as James Madison High School; a certain writer attended Madison, and he/I graduated in the same year as Saunders from West Springfield at that!

Saunders will join the rotation later in the week, however the O’s have reshuffled things just a bit moving forward due to the impromptu off day yesterday. Wei-Yin Chen will get the start tonight for the Birds against Francisco Liriano of the ChiSox. Liriano faced the Orioles at Camden Yards in the second game of the season, losing 8-2. Many people wonder why this trade was allowed to be made well after the July 31st deadline. July 31st is the non-waiver trade deadline; Arizona placed Saunders on waivers a few days ago (and the Orioles did likewise with Lindstrom at some point). Nobody claimed either player, so they “passed through” or “cleared” waivers. The two teams then swapped them, and  trade was done. The deadline for making waiver trades is August 31st which is coming up this week.