We’ve heard that the Pittsburgh Pirates have shown interest in several hitters, such as Chase Headley, Kevin Youkilis, and Bryan LaHair. That’s no surprise considering the lack of offense the team has shown this year. What is a surprise hearing that the team is also focusing on pitching.
Nick Piecoro of AZ Central reports that the Pirates are one of three teams who are said to have interest in Diamondbacks’ left hander Joe Saunders. Piecoro also mentions the Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, and Boston Red Sox as other interested parties.
Saunders is in his final year of arbitration, and is making $6 M. He’s not having a bad season, with a 3.44 ERA in 81 innings. However, his xFIP of 4.36 suggests that he probably won’t maintain that. Last year he had a 3.69 ERA in 212 innings, and had a 4.38 xFIP. In previous years his ERA has been typically closer to those other numbers.
That xFIP would put Saunders fourth in the Pirates’ rotation, behind A.J. Burnett, James McDonald, and Erik Bedard. Saunders is an innings eating left hander, so he’d be a good fit for the Pirates and PNC Park. But with Jeff Locke and Rudy Owens pitching well in Triple-A, you’d wonder why the Pirates would even be looking at a three month rental who looks to be the fourth best option in the rotation.