After young left-hander Tyler Skaggs made his major league debut on Wednesday and won the first game of a doubeheader, the Arizona Diamondbacks are apparently ready to keep him aboard, while moving veteran lefty Joe Saunders.
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported Tuesday night that Arizona placed Saunders on trade waivers. Wrote Rosenthal:
He will be on waivers until 1 p.m. ET Thursday, and could be claimed by a team in need of starting pitching - or a team seeking to block another contender from adding him. If Saunders clears waivers, the Diamondbacks can trade him to any club.
The D-backs appear to be prepared already to potentially replace him in the starting rotation. Beat reporter Nick Piecoro tweeted:
Word is that the Diamondbacks are going to keep LHP Tyler Skaggs in the big leagues. Not sure what role he'll be in.— Nick Piecoro (@nickpiecoro) August 23, 2012
Chatter among the media after the second game of the doubleheader, which Arizona won 3-0, that Saunders would likely be traded within the week.
Arizona is still not out of the playoff race. They sit five and a half games out of the lead in the NL West, with 15 games left against the Giants and Dodgers, who sit above theme in the standings.
While Saunders was key down the stretch in 2011 in the D-backs' playoff run, it appears that the franchise is going to shoot for winning while building for the future. Already they have two rookie left-handers in the rotation -- Wade Miley and Patrick Corbin. Skaggs would make that a trio, rounding out the rotation with Ian Kennedy and Trevor Cahill.
If Skaggs pitches anything near the way he did in his debut, allowing two runs in six and two-thirds innings, he is at worst a zero gain replacing Saunders, who has been less effective recently, and at best is an improvement. Plus, should Saunders get traded, it would save Arizona about $1.5 million the rest of the season in salary.
It seems that Arizona is playing for the future, but also calling the future now, because the team is certainly not out of the race. And even if it falters down the stretch with their young arms, the experience they gain will be better than anything they could have had down in Triple-A.
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