Joseph Francis Saunders
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 3", Weight 210 lb.
- School Virginia Tech
- High School West Springfield High School
- Debut August 16, 2005
Saunders made his major league debut with the Los Angeles Angels in 2005. Back in the minors in 2006, he was called up in mid-July to start in place of the injured Kelvim Escobar. He was doing quite well in triple-A, with a record of 10-3 at the time.
He won his first major league start, giving up two earned runs in 7 innings, and was apparently sent back down to the minors afterwards. He came back, though, and started 13 games with a record of 7-3 over the remainder of the season. He won over 15 games in both 2008 and 2009 and was named to the All-Star team in 2008.
In July 2010, Saunders was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks with Rafael Rodriguez, Patrick Corbin and a player to be named later for Dan Haren. In 2011, he went 12-13 in 33 starts for Arizona, pitching a career-high 212 innings with a 3.69 ERA. He started Game 4 of the NLDS but gave up 3 runs 3 innings and was not involved in the decision. In 2012, he started 21 games for Arizona, going 6-10, 4.22, before being traded to the Baltimore Orioles in return for Matt Lindstrom on August 26th. He went 3-3, 3.63 in 7 starts for the Orioles down the stretch, helping them reach the postseason for the first time since 1997. Overall, his record was 9-13, 4.07 in 28 starts. The Orioels picked him to start the American League Wild Card Game against the Texas Rangers on the road on October 5th and he came up big, giving up a single run in 5 2/3 innings, earning the win as the Orioles moved on to face the New York Yankees in the ALDS thanks to a 5-1 win. He was back on the mound in another must-win situation in Game 4 of the ALDS on October 11th, and repeated his earlier postseason performance, giving up a single run in 5 2/3 innings. The Orioles went on to win the game, 2-1, in 13 innings, but lost the decisive Game 5 the next day.
On February 7, 2013, Saunders signed a one-year contract with the Seattle Mariners on the same day as word came out of the M's record-setting deal with ace Felix Hernandez for $175 million. Needless to say, Saunders' deal was for considerably less money, but still reflected his status as an above-average starting pitcher.
Quote: "... I know I can pitch at this level... A lot of guys at triple A can play at this level, but there's not a spot for them". - Joe Saunders
- AL All-Star (2008)
- 15 Wins Seasons: 2 (2008 & 2009)
- 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 2 (2010 & 2011)