Joe Saunders May Be Gone, But That Was The Plan All Along

The Arizona Diamondbacks finalized a trade on Saturday night sending starting pitcher Joe Saunders to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for relief pitcher Matt Lindstrom and another player to be named this winter. With the call up of Tyler Skaggs, the D-backs no longer had the use for the veteran lefty Saunders and it seemed best for both parties that he was traded. In return, they get another hard throwing bullpen pitcher with plenty of experience.

The thing is, we could have seen this trade from a mile away. Unless the D-backs had more injuries than their farm system could sustain, Saunders probably wasn't going to make it through 2012 with just a Diamondbacks uniform on. This was all part of the plan.

Many have said that by trading Saunders, the Diamondbacks have officially given up on their hopes of reaching the playoffs. While that may be true, I don't look at it that way. There is a reason Saunders was signed to just a one-year contract earlier this year.

The plan was for him to eat up innings while pitching at a respectable level until the young guys could make their way up. Now that Wade Miley, Patrick Corbin and Skaggs -- all southpaws -- are in the fold, having Saunders in the rotation seemed a bit repetitive.

Saunders, 31, was only making $6 million this season, which by Major League Baseball standards, is very affordable for a third or fourth spot in the rotation pitcher. His fly-ball style should fare well in Camden Yards as well. The Orioles needed a left handed pitcher and the Diamondbacks didn't, so the trade seemed to just work for both sides.

So, no, this deal does not signify the Diamondbacks waving the white flag. It just means that they are transitioning from one era to the next and trying to do so seamlessly.

Get more Diamondbacks coverage over at AZ Snakepit.

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