Free-agent pitcher Joe Saunders has agreed to a one-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to Steve Henson of Yahoo! Sports.
The Orioles were interested in Saunders, a native of Falls Church, Va., who was non-tendered by the Diamondbacks, and they had discussions with his agent. Shortstop J.J. Hardy works out with Saunders in Arizona, and he mentioned on Jan. 3 during a phone interview on “The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report” that Saunders confirmed how the Orioles made “recent” contact with his representative.
Saunders was 12-13 with a 3.69 ERA in 33 starts with the Diamondbacks last season, and is 69-52 with a 4.16 ERA in seven major league seasons.
Update: Saunders reportedly will be paid $6 million this season.
Executive vice president Dan Duquette hasn’t dismissed the possibility of signing another starter. He’s pleased with the Orioles’ rotation depth, but he’s always looking for another pitcher who’s capable of giving him 200 innings in a season.
Duquette told me today that he’d occasionally tune into an Orioles game last season and notice that a middle reliever had already replaced the starter. That image tends to stay with an executive.
In other news, the Tigers announced today that Victor Martinez suffered a torn ACL and could miss the entire 2012 season. Martinez is expected to undergo surgery.
Martinez, who turned down an offer from the Orioles last winter, suffered the injury while working out.
How does this news impact the Orioles? Well, early speculation has the Tigers possibly making a run at free-agent designated hitter Johnny Damon, who is on the Orioles’ radar as they continue to search for another bat.
There are plenty of DH types on the market, so it’s not assured that Damon is about to come off the board. The Tigers could choose to sign or trade for a left fielder and make Delmon Young the full-time DH.
And more news: The Orioles have signed pitcher Armando Galarraga to a minor league deal with a spring training invitation, according to a tweet from @RussoBilly.
Galarraga, who turned 30 two days ago, went 3-4 with a 5.91 ERA in eight starts with the Diamondbacks last year, and 4-9 with a 4.49 ERA in 25 games (24 starts) with the Tigers in 2010.
Galarraga is 26-30 with a 4.69 ERA and 1.382 WHIP in 95 career games, including 86 starts, over parts of five seasons in the majors. He’ll always be remembered for losing a perfect game on June 2, 2010 because of a blown call by first base umpire Jim Joyce with two outs in the ninth inning.