Trade Values: Joe Saunders

While most of the attention has been focused on the Pirates’ pursuit of a hitter, there may also be need for a pitcher to bolster a rotation that may be starting to leak a little water.  Last weekend, the Pirates were one of four teams rumored to be in on Joe Saunders, as per Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.

The left-handed Saunders has never overly impressed me, but he has been a reliable innings eater with both the Angels and the Diamondbacks.  He has taken the hill at least 31 times each of the past 4 years and logged 186 to 212 innings over that time span.  He’s a lefty with an 89 mph fastball, 75 mph curve, and an 80 mph change.  I’ve always felt that Saunders was just a half-step below Paul Maholm in terms of overall stuff, for comparison.

After being non-tendered by the Diamondbacks last offseason, as he was ready to go for his 3rd year of arbitration, the two sides came to terms on a 1 year, $6M deal for 2012 (a modest increase of $500,000 from his previous year).  So far this year, Saunders is off to a nice start with a 3.44 ERA/4.00 FIP/4.35 xFIP slash line, good for 1.1 WAR.  All three of those marks are less than the career averages for the 31-year old pitcher, so there may be some regression.

In his previous 4 seasons, Saunders has put up a 6.6 WAR total for a 1.65 WAR average/season.  Let’s be generous and say that Saunders will finish with a 2.0 WAR season in 2012 for the purposes of this trade analysis.  Also, we’ll assume $3M would remain on his contract by the time of a possible trade.  Saunders has no buyout or option for 2013.

Year Salary WAR FA Value Surplus Value
2012 $3,000,000 0.9 $4,500,000 $1,500,000

Saunders has minimal surplus value to the Diamondbacks, so the return for him would be rather small.  A relief pitching prospect or low level hitter of not much note would suffice.

Share This Article

Trade Values: Kevin Youkilis

Next Story »

As Trade Deadline Approaches, Pirates Looking to Improve All Areas

  • salempirate

    Kevin, Saunders would be okay, just to eat innings and just for this season, probably.
    But, to turn the tables, and there was quite a bit of talk about trading him to obtain Headley, what is Pedro’s value?

    • http://twitter.com/scott_klima Scott BUCN Klima

      Pedro is staying a Pirate for the rest of the year, 100% guarantee.

      Saunders seems like a smart pickup assuming the low price tag. Why not trade someone like Dan Gamache or Gift Ngoepe to get him, if possible. Same goes for Youkilis. Headley will obviously cost us something decent.

    • Kevin_Creagh

      Pedro’s value is a tough one to get a handle on because his career is still young and evolving before us. He seems to be in the Mark Reynolds vein of hitting, but with much better defense.
      I think Pedro can be a 3.5 to 4 WAR at 3B. That probably drops to 2.5 if he goes to 1B. As Scott says below, though, he’s not going anywhere this season.

Latest Analysis

  • Austin Meadows

    Austin Meadows Lowered His Hand Position to Add More Power

    16 hours ago

    Ever since he was drafted, Austin Meadows was regarded as a prospect with power that you could dream about. He drew comps to Jay Bruce in the ...

    Read More
  • Tarpley Brault

    Will the Snider Trade Result in the Pirates Finally Having a Left-Handed Starting Prospect?

    1 day ago

    Despite adding plenty of pitching through the draft over the last several years, the Pittsburgh Pirates have been short on the amount of quality left-handed pitching in their ...

    Read More
  • Connor Joe 2

    Meet Connor Joe: The First Round Pick You Know Nothing About

    2 days ago

    This site is now in its seventh year of existence. For the last four years, I’ve been doing this full-time, allowing me to see every affiliate throughout the year, along ...

    Read More
  • (Photo Credit: David Hague)

    What is the Difference Between Mel Rojas and Keon Broxton?

    2 days ago

    Mel Rojas Jr. was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the third round of the 2010 MLB draft. The son of the former big league closer had ...

    Read More
  • Jose Tabata

    The Details of Jose Tabata’s New Swing

    4 days ago

    On Friday I wrote about how Jose Tabata talked to Marlon Byrd over the off-season, aimed at changing his swing to add some leverage, lift the ball, ...

    Read More
  • (Photo Credit: David Hague)

    What Led to Keon Broxton’s Breakout Year in Altoona?

    5 days ago

    Keon Broxton used to be one of the top prospects in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ farm system. Baseball America ranked him as high as tenth in the system ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles

    More

    Advertisement