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Topic: joe saunders

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February 13, 2013 at 8:18 AM

As Mariners prepare for Felix Hernandez press conference, Joe Saunders begins next career stage in Mariners rotation

Felix Hernandez will have his press conference at Safeco Field this afternoon, but down here in Arizona, the rest of his pitching and catching teammates are preparing for their first workout of spring training. The team is presently meeting with manager Eric Wedge and the coaching staff in the clubhouse. Among those taking the field at 8:30 a.m. PT will be Joe Saunders, recently signed to shore-up the middle of the rotation following the departure of Jason Vargas for the Angels.

Newest Mariners starting pitcher Joe Saunders takes the field this morning for team’s first workout in Peoria, AZ.

Saunders, 31, is coming off a 2012 season in which he was traded by the Diamondbacks to the Orioles and actually started — and won — the inagural wild-card play-in game against the Texas Rangers at Camden Yards last October.

“It was a lot of fun,” Saunders said. “It was nerve-wracking as heck. My numbers in that ballpark obviously weren’t very good. It was just another…you look at it asanother opportunity to prove people wrong. I just tried to go out there and give the team a chance to win. We won that game and then we took the Yankees to five games and lost in New York. It was a fun run.”

Saunders has had the opportunity to pitch in several post-seasons already between his time with the Angels, the Diamondbacks and the Orioles.

“I’ve been fortunate enough in my career to be in the post-season five times,” he added. “It’s definitely a great opportunity, you cherish it. Each and every time you get there, you want to get back there again because you never know when it’s going to come again. So, you just kind of relish it and do everything you can.”

Mariners pitchers and catchers take the field this morning for first workout in Peoria, AZ.

Which sort of begs the question of why Saunders chose to come to Seattle, which has not made the playoffs since 2001. Saunders did, after all, have a chance to go back to Baltimore and was courted by several teams.

“I liked where this organization was going,” he said. “I thought they made some good moves, some good trades. I’m familliar with the division and hoping to have some fun. Try to take another team, hopefully, to the post-season, so we’ll see where it goes.”

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0 Comments | More in Free agents | Topics: felix hernandez, Jack Zduriencik, joe saunders

February 12, 2013 at 4:36 PM

Mike Carp designated for assignment by Mariners, who give his roster spot to new starting pitcher Joe Saunders

Well, the other shoe dropped in the  Joe Saunders signing moments ago and Mike Carp was the victim, getting DFA by the Mariners. Carp was just about to leave his Los Angeles area home and drive to Arizona for spring training in the next day or two. Now, he’s staying put a little while longer, since the Mariners have 10 days to trade, release or outright him to Class AAA.

In case you’re wondering, no, he would not make it through waivers if the Mariners chose to outright him.

“You look at all the winter moves they made and try to figure out how it pertains to you,” Carp told me moments ago. “But in the end, all you can do is take care of yourself, do what you need to do to succeed and be ready when your time comes. I’m ready to start spring training. Obviously, it won’t be with the Mariners any more but I’m ready for whichever team wants me.”

Mariners outfielder Mike Carp was designated for assignment by the team today, effectively ending his Seattle career. Photo Credit: AP

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0 Comments | More in Transactions | Topics: DFA, joe saunders, Mike Carp

February 8, 2013 at 6:47 PM

Jon Garland agrees to minor league deal with Mariners pending a physical

Right-handed starter Jon Garland hasn’t pitched since undergoing shoulder surgery midway through the 2011 season with the Dodgers. Photo Credit: AP

First, it was Jeremy Bonderman, now Jon Garland joins the list of veteran pitchers attempting career comebacks with the Mariners this spring. Garland, 33, hasn’t pitched since undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery with the Dodgers midway through the 2011 season and will come to Seattle’s camp on a minor league deal.

He was invited to spring training with Cleveland a year ago, but never took his physical and the deal was cancelled. This year’s physical with Seattle is to be done next week down here in Peoria, Ariz.

I’ve also been told that Joe Saunders will have his physical done at that point as well and only after that will the Mariners announce his major league deal.

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0 Comments | More in Free agents | Topics: felix hernandez, jeremy bonderman, joe saunders

February 7, 2013 at 5:53 PM

Mariners reportedly agree to one-year deal with pitcher Joe Saunders

The Mariners have reportedly reached a deal with Joe Saunders, who pitched for the Diamondbacks and Orioles last season after starting career in Anaheim. Photo Credit: AP

The Mariners look to have found the replacement for Jason Vargas, reportedly agreeing to a one-year deal with free-agent pitcher Joe Saunders pending a physical. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported the move.

Saunders, as we wrote last week, fills a left-handed need in Seattle’s rotation with a pitcher similar to Vargas in terms of how he gets his outs. Both give up their share of flyballs and struck out a mediocre total of about 5.8 batters per nine innings apiece in 2012.

With the fences coming in at Safeco Field, we’ll see how the dimensions impact Saunders, who got tagged for a .302 average and .849 OPS by right-handed hitters last year. Safeco Field used to help Vargas by knocking down some of his flyballs, especially those hit by right-handed batters.

Interestingly enough, as colleague  Larry Stone points out, Saunders is 6-0 with a 2.13 ERA lifetime at Safeco Field. The downside to that, of course, is that he was beating up on some bad Mariners teams with a strong Angels squad behind him helping him do it.

So, like I said, we’ll see.

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0 Comments | More in Free agents | Topics: fences, Jack Zduriencik, jason vargas

January 30, 2013 at 9:49 AM

Why the Mariners must add a dependable starting pitcher

Chris Capuano of the Dodgers is one of a handful of pitchers out there capable of delivering the quality innings totals the Mariners desperately need. Photo Credit: AP

We’ve spoken about the offensive upgrades made by the Mariners and how the “wild card” to it all is how much of an impact moving the Safeco Field fences in will have on the team.

But all of that could be offset by a decline in the pitching staff if the Mariners don’t do something significant to upgrade their starting rotation. Moving in the fences will help the offense, in theory, yes. But using the same logic, it could also hurt the pitching staff even if you put the same five-man rotation out there as we saw for most of last year.

Now, of course, the Mariners won’t have the same starting five as last year. In order to acquire Kendrys Morales, the Mariners had to trade away Jason Vargas. And they also saw free agent Kevin Millwood leave.

You didn’t have to be a huge fan of either Vargas or Millwood. But between the two of them, they threw 378 1/3 innings last season and kept their teams in the game for the most part. Both pitchers relied heavily on their defense and — especially with Vargas — a pitcher-friendly home park , but they still were able to keep the score close after six or seven innings.

And you can’t just let that walk out the door without replacing it.

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0 Comments | More in Free agents | Topics: Chris Capuano, franklin gutierrez, joe saunders