During the media preview of Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, Diamondbacks General Manager Kevin Towers announced the team had come to terms with two of its four arbitration eligible players.
Starting pitcher Joe Saunders agreed to a one-year deal worth approximately $5.5 million. This is Saunders final year of arbitration and is eligible to become a free agent after the 2011 season. After his trade to Arizona as part of the Dan Haren deal Saunders pitched well but came up short in run support leading to a 3-7 with a 4.25 ERA.
Saunders fit in well in the clubhouse and provided much needed veteran leadership to the Diamondbacks young pitching staff. He also ate up innings for the club pitching a career high 203 1/3 innings between the Los Angeles Angels and Arizona Diamondbacks.
Drew had a bounce back season last year and signed a two-year contract with the Diamondbacks with an option for a third year. The two-year deal buys out Drew’s final years of arbitration giving the team some payroll certainty going into 2012.
Drew’s deal is worth an estimated $13.75 million. The optional third year is a mutual option worth approximately $10 million. Both play and the team have five days after the 2012 World Series to exercise the option.
The Diamondbacks will retain their starting shortstop who made great strides both on defense and at the plate. Drew finished behind Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki in Gold Glove voting and has become an important part of the Diamondbacks team since arriving at the big league level in 2006.
With these two signings, Arizona is left with two players who are arbitration eligible – Miguel Montero and Kelly Johnson. Towers said the team had exchanged arbitration numbers with the player’s representatives and he remained hopeful that deals could be made before the scheduled hearings in February.