Oct 5, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Joe Saunders (48) pitches against the Texas Rangers during the first inning of the 2012 American League wild card playoff game at Rangers Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Mets Interested in Joe Saunders; Diamondbacks Trading an Outfielder Soon?

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It’s always tough when someone loses their life, especially around the holidays. We heard the sad news about the death of former utility man Ryan Freel late last night. It’s even worse to hear he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. During his eight-year MLB career, Freel posted a career line of .268/.354/.369. He was most well-known for his time with the Cincinnati Reds, where he spent six years, and worked his way into a starting role in 2006. On behalf of everyone at Rising Apple, we send thoughts and prayers to Freel’s friends and family, as well as all the Reds fans who grew to love him during his time with Cincinnati.

After hearing that Francisco Liriano took a two-year deal to play for the Pirates, Sandy Alderson has turned his attention to another southpaw in Joe Saunders for their open spot in the rotation. Saunders joins Shaun Marcum, Chris Young, and Carl Pavanoas the other free agent pitchers the Mets are interested in bringing to Flushing. In 2012, Saunders played for both the Diamondbacks and Orioles, and went a combined 9-13 with a 4.01 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, and 112 strikeouts in 174.2 innings pitched.

Unfortunately for New York, Saunders has also drawn interest from Baltimore, Seattle, and San Diego, and he’s looking for a deal either similar to or more than the two-years and $15 million the Angels gave Joe Blanton. If that’s the case, I doubt Alderson will be seriously pursuing Saunders because since they can give out only one multi-year deal this winter, they’d rather give it to an outfielder. Each of these free agents are interesting in their own right, but I would rather see the Mets exhaust exploring a trade with the Dodgers for Chris Capuano or Aaron Harang first before pursuing one of these available pitchers. Out of the free agents, New York is safest going after Young (because they know what they can get with him), or Marcum (if he’s healthy).

The outfielder market got a little thinner yesterday, as the Diamondbacks added another player to their already crowded outfield by signing Cody Ross to a three-year/$26 million deal. Alderson was apparently interested in pursuing Ross, but that pursuit obviously didn’t get into any advanced stages before he agreed to a deal with Arizona. Steve Gilbert tweeted that GM Kevin Towers’ phone “blew up” yesterday after the deal was announced, asking about potential deals for his surplus of outfielders.

Although Towers was very busy with his outfielders earlier this off-season (trading Chris Young, shopping Justin Upton), he said he has the blessing of ownership to hold onto all of them going into 2013, but it looks like Jason Kubel could be the one on his way out more than Upton. Buster Olney said teams like the Rangers, Yankees, Mariners (before they signed Raul Ibanez), and Rays could be fits for Kubel. If he does get dealt, he’ll likely head back to the American League because of his atrocious defense. The 30-year-old had a career year at the plate with Arizona in 2012, hitting .253/.327/.506 with 30 homers and 90 RBI.

That would be a great addition for the Mets in their lineup, but with a spacious outfield at Citi, he may cost a team more runs than he produces. Gerardo Parra could also become available now that there are too many outfielders in the desert, but at the age of 25, he hasn’t shown any signs of legit power or significant speed on the base paths, so that wouldn’t be a prudent trade for Alderson to make.

I don’t expect much to happen over the next few days with the holidays just a couple days away, but hey, crazier things have happened, right?


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Tags: Jason Kubel Joe Saunders New York Mets

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