He got the start and helped pitch the Orioles to two huge playoff wins, but left-hander Joe Saunders will not be returning to the O's. Saunders has agreed to a one-year deal with the Seattle Mariners pending a physical, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.
Saunders went 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA in those two playoff starts, both of which were must-wins. He started the wild card game in Texas and Game 4 of the American League Division Series in New York.
The 31-year-old lefty went 3-3 with a 3.63 ERA in seven regular season starts for the Orioles, who acquired him via a trade with Arizona on Aug. 26 for reliever Matt Lindstrom. Saunders, from Falls Church, Va., grew up an O's fan and said he attended several games as a kid at Camden Yards. When he returns this year, he'll be in the third base dugout at the Yard once again.
A first-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Angels in 2002, Saunders is 78-65 with an ERA of 4.15 in 189 career major league starts. The Mariners become his fourth team following the Angels, Diamondbacks and Orioles.
The Orioles had said they were interested in re-signing the free agent and Saunders had expressed some desire to return. He was said to be seeking a multi-year deal but, in the end, settled for a one-year pact with the Mariners, who also today reportedly agreed to a seven-year, $175 million dollar deal with their ace, Felix Hernandez.
Apparently they had a few dollars left for Saunders, who will not be an Oriole in 2013.