Earlier this afternoon, the Orioles completed a waiver wire trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks to send Joe Saunders to Baltimore for relief pitcher Matt Lindstrom. Lets break this trade down.
Joe Saunders is coming to town to fill the fifth rotation spot previously held by Tommy Hunter. Hunter has an ERA of nearly 6 (5.95), while Saunders’ is 4.22. The MLB average ERA is is 4.03, and the Orioles’ is 4.11. Saunders is just .19 points above league average and .11 above team average, while Hunter is 1.92 above MLB and 1.84 above the team.
Saunders WAR total this season is 1.7. This means, if the Diamonbacks were to not have Saunders on their roster, they would have lost 1.7 more games than they already had. Tommy Hunter’s WAR is a whopping -0.8. Matt Lindstrom, the pitcher that the Orioles traded, had a WAR of .04 coming out of the bullpen (meaning he is expendable).
The FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) measures what a player’s ERA should have looked like over a given time period, assuming that the balls in play and timing were league average. The FIP of Joe Saunders is 4.19, which is slightly below average. Though this may not be astounding, compared to the FIP’s of Tommy Hunter (6.18), Brian Matusz (5.10), and Zach Britton (5.13), Joe Saunders is actually acceptable.
Dan Duquette’s reasons for adding Saunders were to give the Orioles another solid left handed starter and to allow young starters Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez six days of rest.
All around, it looks like Joe Saunders is an upgrade over any other back-of-the-rotation starter on the Orioles roster, making this trade a good one.