Saunders' return to Orioles remains uncertain

Saunders' return to Orioles remains uncertain
November 21, 2012, 8:15 pm
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Joe Saunders wasn’t with the Orioles for long. He seemed to fit in nicely and made a major contribution, but he may not return in 2013.

Saunders was acquired in late August from Arizona, and it was a semi-homecoming. He grew up in Northern Virginia as an Orioles fan but spent his first 7 ½ years playing for the Angels and Diamondbacks.

The Orioles considered signing him last year, but he returned to Arizona. Saunders was pleased with the deal and went 3-3 with a 3.63 ERA in seven starts.

He won the Wild Card game in Texas and allowed a run in 5 2/3 innings in the Division Series.

The Orioles have four solid incumbents for the rotation: Jason Hammel, Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez and Chris Tillman. They have lots of candidates for the fifth spot: Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton, Tommy Hunter and Steve Johnson. Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman may join the staff later in the year.

Does that preclude a Saunders return? Saunders is solid, but Dan Duquette may think he’s not worth a multi-year commitment. Saunders hasn’t been available for comment about what sort of deal he’ll accept. Reportedly the market for Saunders has been robust.

That isn’t good news for Orioles fans who’d like Saunders back.