According to a tweet last night from Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, the Baltimore Orioles are in talks with free agent starting pitchers Joe Saunders and Chris Capuano. Saunders struggled in Seattle last year, posting a 5.26 ERA over 183 innings. Similarly, Capuano actually pitched only 105.2 innings with the LA Dodgers due in part to various injury problems. So in a sense these would both be reclamation projects if the O’s brought one of them into camp. I’d be the first one to point out that if they brought in Capuano it might send a bit of a mixed message given that the club got so caught up in player physicals over the course of the off season.
Saunders of course is a guy who’s familiar to the Orioles and their fans, as the Birds traded for
Courtesy of Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
him in August of 2012 to help in their stretch run to the playoffs. The name Joe Saunders is also the answer to two different (but related) trivia questions. 1) Who was the starting/winning pitcher in the first Orioles’ playoff game in 14 years? 2) Who was the starting/winning pitcher in the first ever American League Wild Card game? The Orioles traded pitcher David Hernandez to Arizona through waivers that year to obtain Saunders, who was going to be a free agent at the end of the season. A native of nearby Falls Church, VA, Saunders seemed to want to stay in Baltimore when the season was over, however what could have been a case of an over-anxious agent he ended up signing in Seattle for one year.
My personal opinion is that the Orioles should surrender the 17th pick in the draft and sign either Ubaldo Jimenez or Ervin Santana. If I were choosing between Saunders and Capuano, I think I’d go with Saunders. But with that said, would it not be possible for the Orioles to get both Jimenez or Santana AND Saunders or Capuano?