Dan Duquette met with the Baltimore media about the deal today that sent reliever Matt Lindstrom and a player to be named to the Arizona Diamondbacks for lefty starter Joe Saunders and cash.
On the trade: “We’ve liked Joe Saunders for quite a while, we’ve had some discussions (with him as a free agent in the winter). He’s a local kid (Springfield, Va.). He’s pitched in the American League. He’s pitched in the playoffs. He’s pitched in a tough ballpark in Arizona. And we just like his experience. 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.
On competition for Saunders:
“I don’t know if there were other teams involved. We started discussions with Saunders a long time ago, during the summer time and this is the opportunity that we were waiting for. It just came together over the weekend.”
Does this help your pennant push?
“I’ve always felt pretty good about this ballclub, we have a number of players who are having good years, which you need to have. I just like this addition of veteran left-handed depth to our staff because it helps solidify the starting rotation while we are waiting for Jason Hammel to return. And then, if Jason Hammel does return, it gives us another good left-handed option because Joe Saunders is very good left-on-left. So while we are waiting for say, (Troy) Patton to come back, if we have several starters doing well, I just think Joe gives us more depth to our pitching staff.”
On dealing Lindstrom:
“Matt Lindstrom did a nice job for us and he contributed to the bullpen. 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 ad we have some other pitchers who are available who can do that job. One of them is here today, Jake Arrieta.”Are you concerned about Saunders as a fly-ball pitcher in Camden Yards given his home run tendency?
“I wouldn’t consider him a fly-ball pitcher because he has got a good sinker and he’s got a good changeup. And fly ball pitchers don’t generally do very well in that ballpark in Arizona. So Joe’s a very capable professional pitcher. He can command his fastball, he’s got a good overhand breaking ball and he has a very good changeup. Good competitor, good control. So I think all those attributes will serve him well in our league.”
On Arrieta’s role now and the rest of the season:
“He is in the bullpen today.”
How do you gauge your team now?
“I like our ballclub’s chances. There’s an old saying that if you’re going in the right direction, keep walking. So the addition of Joe Saunders gives us a good chance to keep walking in the right direction. I think it gives us better balance against the left-handed lineups we are going to be facing.”
Done trading now?
“We are always looking to improve the ballclub. I am really heartened with the young pitchers that we’ve brought up and have pitched really well. Steve Johnson has done a nice job. Chris Tillman has done a good job. Miguel Gonzalez, they’ve all a very good job. I think Saunders is experienced and the fact that he is left-handed is a really good complement to what those players have done.”
Any potential offensive additions?
“I hope that Betemit can come back and make a contribution to this team. Hopefully, he’ll do that some time later this week and I’m also hopeful that Jim Thome comes up and helps us too.”
What can you tell us about the player to be named later?
“The player to be named later will be decided sometime after the end of the season.”