Rangers rumors: Joe Saunders expected to sign with Texas

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers are close to a deal with the former Angels and Mariners lefty.

Injuries to Derek Holland's knee and Matt Harrison's back will likely cause the Rangers to open the year with some rotational improvisation. The team has already re-signed Colby Lewis -- who has struggled with injuries recently -- and Tommy Hanson -- who is attempting to return to the player he was before an injury of his own.

Now, it appears as though Texas will add left hander Joe Saunders to the mix, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.

Saunders certainly has experience in the division.

From 2005 to 2010, he threw nearly 700 innings for the Angels, posting a 4.29 ERA in 115 starts.

After a few seasons in Arizona and a brief run with the Orioles, the 32-year-old resurfaced in the AL West with Mariners in 2013. He provided the M's with 183 innings, though he didn't exactly pitch well. He finished the year with a 5.26 ERA, which is actually a kind of impressive level of ineptitude given that 13 of his starts were aided by the gulf of SAFECO Field. In Seattle, he logged 74 innings with a 4.99 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP, but on the road ... ugly stuff.

His road ERA was just a shade higher at 5.45, but he came pretty close to allowing two baserunners an inning (1.73 WHIP). The Ballpark at Arlington isn't nearly as friendly as SAFECO or Angels Stadium, so unless Saunders can reinvent his game, he might be in for another tough year.

He was able to induce groundballs at a career high level last season in Seattle -- 51.2% against a career GB% of 46. That more terrestrial approach could aid him in Texas, but the recent past has been sort of daunting for him. In any event, he's probably capable of logging as many innings as the Rangers would like him to, seeing that he's managed to average 193 innings a year since 2008 despite mixed results. Since the deal isn't likely to be a considerable financial gamble on Texas' part, it certainly won't hurt to have a sturdy, albeit generous, veteran arm around, but they're probably going to need to score a lot of runs when he takes the hill.

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