Pirates Said to Have Interest in Joe Saunders

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.

Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • Lee Young

    That surprised me, also.

  • szielinski

    “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.”

    One possible answer: Nutting and Coonelly want to give the Yinzers a winner ASAP without doing anything too stupid.

  • http://twitter.com/jlease717 John Lease

    He throws on a downward plane would be my guess.

  • buccotime57

    bring Rudy up see how he does if he does well good..if not then we can think about getting help for this season if everything else is going well

  • PiratesFan

    We shouldn’t be looking for pitching. Saunders is a decent player, but we need to use whatever trade chips we may have to try to bring in some hitting, preferably LaHair or Headley.