Will Joe Saunders return to the Orioles?
I think we’re officially in the doldrums of the Baltimore Orioles’ off season in a sense. The good news is that Orioles’ FanFest will occur two weeks from Saturday, which is always a fun event for fans. That aside, one name we haven’t thrown around a ton this off season is Joe Saunders. The O’s of course obtained his services last season in a waiver trade, and he was pretty clutch for the Birds down the stretch. He’ll also forever be the answer to a trivia question in that he was the first Orioles’ pitcher to win a postseason game in 15 years when he was the winning pitcher in Texas back in the wild card game in October.
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One of the reasons that the Arizona Diamondbacks felt that Saunders was expendable was due to the fact that he was to be a free agent this off season. The Orioles do have interest in bringing him back for 2013, and Dan Duquette has met with his agent. Presumably, the hold up is in the terms of the agreement. If I were Duquette I think I would be able to afford to be a bit flexible on price and terms. While he’s no C.C. Sabathia, Saunders was a major piece of the Orioles towards the end of the season. In fact, I’m not sure that the O’s make the playoffs without his services, or those of any of the players that came and went through the Camden Yards gates in 2012.
The other part is that Duquette isn’t going to want to have given up the likes of Matt Lindstrom only to have Saunders turn into merely a rental. That’s never a good way of handling players, unless of course you win the World Series. However if the Orioles are serious about maintaining their 2012 accomplishments into 2013, it should start with the pitching. Retaining Saunders would be a huge step towards solidifying that.