08/26/12 5:34 PM ET
O's acquire Saunders from D-backs for Lindstrom
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
"Lindstrom did a nice job for us and he contributed to the bullpen," executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said. "I just think the left-handed addition to our starting rotation and the capability to get more innings at a high level was better for the team at this stage of the season.
"And, who knows? Joe Saunders is a local kid. Maybe he's with us beyond this year. That's something we can certainly take a look at. But this is something that strengthens us now. We have a number of right-handers doing a good job in our bullpen and we have some other pitchers who are available who can do that job."
Jake Arrieta, who was sent to Triple-A Norfolk in early July, arrived on Sunday afternoon to take Lindstrom's active roster spot. That could change quickly, with the Orioles expected to officially add Saunders before Monday's game against the White Sox
"I am very excited," said Saunders, a Virginia native who was raised an Oriole fan and reflected fondly on the short drive to Camden Yards. "I grew up watching Mike Mussina, Cal Ripken, Chris Hoiles, Mickey Tettleton, Rafael Palmeiro, all those vintage Oriole guys that were there at the time.
"I just remember sitting in the games at the upper deck just thinking to myself it would be really cool one day to play in one of these stadiums. And now I will."
Saunders -- who didn't make Sunday's scheduled start for the D-backs -- has gone 6-10 with a 4.22 ERA this season and cleared trade waivers earlier in the week, which made the 31-year-old eligible to be traded to any club.
"It's all come full circle," Saunders said. "You always want to have a chance to win. I think if you are going to get traded from a team like we had here [in Arizona], to a team like the Orioles, to a real contender, it was just ... when you get traded, you hope it's to a wining club, that's what I like to do. I've been to the playoffs three of my [previous] seven years. If I can come help the Orioles get to the playoffs, that would be great."
Saunders pitched to a 3.69 ERA a year ago, throwing 212 innings -- a workman-type load he takes particular pride in -- and Duquette said the Orioles have had interest in Saunders for quite some time, with negotiations coming together over the weekend.
"We just like his experience," Duquette said of Saunders, who has a career 75-62 record and 4.17 ERA in 182 starts. "I think he complements our starting rotation, which has three rookies. And I also like the fact that he's left-handed, I think that gives us a little bit better balance as we face some of those left-handed-hitting lineups down the stretch."
With Jason Hammel still sidelined -- although he could return as early as Sept. 6 -- the addition of Saunders will help stabilize a rotation short on experience. The Orioles have used rookies Miguel Gonzalez, Wei-Yin Chen and Steve Johnson, along with 24-year-olds Chris Tillman and Zach Britton, as of late, and Saunders, who threw a bullpen session Friday, could make his first start as early as Wednesday.
"He will start here at some point when we talk to him and figure out what's best for him and us," manager Buck Showalter said. "And we will see. This came together pretty quickly. And there was a lot of competition, obviously a lot of clubs interested in him."
"It's an exciting time for Baltimore," said Saunders who has made four postseason starts and is 16-9 with a 3.98 ERA in 35 starts in September and October. "They got a good team a great staff, a lot of great young stud position players. It's exciting for me, also to go to a team that's in the hunt.
"September is pretty much another season in itself, it makes or breaks you. It's almost like you start over, you kick it into another gear and that's what I've always done."
Lindstrom, acquired alongside Hammel in the offseason trade that sent Jeremy Guthrie to Colorado, went 1-0 with a 2.72 ERA in 34 games for the Orioles this season and felt the move was bittersweet.
"I really enjoy being around my teammates, the guys in the clubhouse, I enjoy competing with them," Lindstrom said. "But I'm looking forward to competing in the next chapter of my career."
Lindstrom had played with several of his new teammates in Arizona before, and said leaving Baltimore -- an organization trying to make its first postseason in 15 years -- is tough, given how much fun the Orioles club is having.
"I have a ton of faith in these guys," he said. "This is a great team we are on here in Baltimore. I think they are going to go a long ways. I don't think anybody should be surprised if they end up in first here at the end. I just wish them well. I know that they are going to enjoy continued success."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.