It's been a very busy day for the Seattle Mariners.
After first signing right-hander Felix Hernandez to the richest contract for a pitcher in Major League Baseball history, they have now signed left-handed pitcher Joe Saunders to a one-year contract (via Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports).
The deal will become official once Saunders passes a physical with team doctors.
While Saunders was seeking a three-year deal for the majority of the offseason, none of the teams interested in him—Baltimore Orioles, San Diego Padres, Pittsburgh Pirates and Minnesota Twins—were willing to offer such a contract.
An unknown team even offered him a two-year, $15 million contract. It appears as if Saunders may be kicking himself at this point for not taking that opportunity when it presented itself.
Saunders is coming off a season in which he saw mixed results.
In 21 starts for the Arizona Diamondbacks, he posted a 6-10 record with an ERA of 4.22. Surprisingly, he pitched better in the seven starts he made in the AL East as a member of the Orioles. He went 3-3 with an ERA of 3.63.
Saunders is a great signing for the Mariners. While by no means a top-flight starter, he can provide the team with about 170 quality innings. He'll be expected to produce an ERA of around 4.00, but anything better shouldn't be much of a surprise.
All in all, Mariners fans should be happy about today. The franchise definitely took some nice steps into improving for 2013 and beyond.