Looking to bolster the back of their rotation, the Pirates have been engaged in preliminary trade talks the Arizona Diamondbacks about 31 year old LHP Joe Saunders (4-5, 3.44 ERA).
Despite being just two games under .500 and 3 games back of the final wildcard spot, the Dbacks are reportedly still open to moving Saunders as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republicwrote this weekend, “There are still indications that theyâd be willing to trade left-hander Joe Saunders if the right deal came along. There is said to be interest from Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston and, somewhat surprisingly, Pittsburgh. They could probably get a decent piece back for Saunders, who is making a reasonable $6 million this season. And trading Saunders would open up room for top prospect Trevor Bauer, who before yesterday had been dominating Triple-A hitters the way he had been dominating Double-A hitters earlier in the year.”
Saunders is 4-5 on the season with a 3.44 ERA. He has one complete game on the season and has allowed 3 earned runs or less in five of his last six starts.
Saunders is an innings eater and has amassed 200+ innings the past two years, pitching 203.1 innings in 2010 and a career high 212 innings in 2011.
The second place Pirates, 34-31 on the season, enter Monday’s off-day 2 games back of the wildcard leading Giants and just a .5 game back of the second wildcard spot. Pittsburgh trails division leading Cincinnati (38-27) by four games.