Joe Saunders Signs with Seattle

In case you missed it, veteran lefthanded starter Joe Saunders signed with the Seattle Mariners.

The 31-year-old seemed a good fit for the Mets, but not at his ultimate price – $6.5M plus another $1.5M in possible incentives, as well as a mutual option for 2014. I’m mildly surprised the Orioles didn’t try harder to bring Saunders back to Baltimore.

The Mariners also signed the righthanded version of Saunders — Jon Garland — albeit to a minor-league deal. Garland had shoulder surgery back in July 2011 and hasn’t pitched in MLB since. Funny, I didn’t even notice that he was gone.

Someone needs to catch all those pitchers in Mariners camp, so Seattle signed former Met Kelly Shoppach to a one-year, $1.5M contract that includes another $500K in incentives. As a comparison, new Mets catcher John Buck will be paid $6M in 2013 — is he $4.5M better than Shoppach? We’ll see.

In other news, Chone Figgins has signed a minor-league deal with the Marlins. I don’t think he’s going to quite replace Jose Reyes, but he just might make the team.

The Marlins also signed Jon Rauch, though unlike Figgins, Rauch gets a Major League contract — one worth $1M, plus another $750K in incentives. Rauch had a nice bounceback season for the Mets, and I thought there was a decent chance he’d return. With Rauch, Mike Pelfrey, and Adam Loewen all gone from the organization, who will the Mets play in the front court? Though, Chris Young is still available …

Speaking of former Mets, Rod Barajas has agreed to a minor league deal with the Diamondbacks. I’m not sure there is a worse backstop in MLB who is, miraculously, as over-valued as Barajas. Even when critics call him “terrible,” they’re being kind.

Reliever Mark Lowe has received a minor-league deal from the Dodgers that could be worth in excess of $2M if he makes the team and reaches certain incentives. Nice low-risk pickup by LA. If the flamethrowing Lowe can stay healthy, he’ll be a major asset in the middle innings for the Dodgers. If he can’t, LA doesn’t owe him much. Though, for someone who throws as hard as he does, Lowe doesn’t miss many bats. Bobby Parnell syndrome?

Jonathan Sanchez signed a minor-league deal with the Pirates, who clearly have no recollection of Oliver Perez. Still, another low-risk move.

Jeremy Accardo is another washed-up pitcher who received a spring training invite. The Nationals gave him a minor-league deal. Hey, you never know.

Because there are never enough former Mets in the news, Ramon Ramirez returned to the Giants, signing a minor-league deal. Hmm … so a year later, the Giants wind up with Ramirez, Andres Torres, AND Angel Pagan. It may mean nothing in the end, but it sure doesn’t look good.

Rich Hill signed a minor-league deal with the Indians. Hill had Tommy John surgery in 2011, and pitched only 19 innings in his 2012 comeback. This could turn out to be one of those under-the-radar signings that pans out well.

I must have been really busy at work this week, because I didn’t even notice the trade of Jed Lowrie to Oakland for Chris Carter. The deal also involved Brad Peacock and Max Stassi going to Houston, and Fernando Rodriguez moving to the A’s. Looks like a good deal for both sides.

Once again, the Pirates have signed Francisco Liriano. No really, it’s for real this time. The deal officially has the lefthander receiving only $1M guaranteed, but incentives can get him back to the nearly $13M he originally agreed to before breaking his right(non-throwing) arm.

Finally, Michael Bourn remains a free agent, though the Mets remain interested in helping his agent Scott Boras drive up the bidding process.

12-13 Offseason

About the Author

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.

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