Well, now it appears someone -- but not the Baltimore Orioles -- has upped the ante for the southpaw and offered him a two-year deal allegedly in the neighborhood of $15 million, sources have told Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun:
A couple different industry sources -- and, admittedly, none directly involved with the negotiations -- have told me that Saunders has a two-year offer on the table.
The speculation is that it is worth roughly $15 million or so, and isn’t from the Orioles.
There is always the chance that the Twins simply increased their offer to Saunders, but at this point the multi-year offer has to be chalked up to a mystery team.
Saunders started the offseason looking for a four-year contract but has since eased his asking price to three years, likely hoping for something in the ballpark of Jeremy Guthrie's three-year, $25 million deal with the Kansas City Royals.
Related: Twins want Saunders on 1-Year Deal
Besides the Twins and Orioles, the Seattle Mariners have also demonstrated a continued interest in Saunders. The club has been looking for rotation help since trading fellow southpaw Jason Vargas to the Angels last month.
Saunders, 31, owns a 4.04 ERA and 5.0 K/9 rate over the last five years, averaging 195 innings pitched per season in that span. The southpaw was a key part of the Orioles' postseason run in 2012, leading the club to victories in elimination games against the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees.