If you couldn’t see the Dodgers’ divisional rivals quaking in their boots after Saturday’s blockbuster trade, their fear became tangible Sunday, when the Arizona Diamondbacks traded starting pitcher Joe Saunders to the Baltimore Orioles for reliever Matt Lindstrom.
OK, that’s not at all how it happened. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com reported that Joe Saunders was placed on waivers last Tuesday and the Orioles had the most interest. It’s unclear if Saunders was claimed by the Orioles, or if he passed through waivers unclaimed and the deal was consummated after that point. Either way, some incarnation of this trade was in the works before the Dodgers got Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto.
What does this mean for the Dodgers, who play Arizona six times between now and the end of the season?
For one, they might miss Saunders, who was 4-6 lifetime against the Dodgers with a 4.04 earned-run average, and 46 strikeouts in 75 2/3 innings. He was on the happy side of an 11-4 win against the Dodgers May 23 in Phoenix, but had fallen on tougher times lately (1-4 in his last five outings with a 6.60 ERA). Someone was in trouble when former Santa Monica High star Tyler Skaggs got called up and inserted into the D-Backs’ rotation earlier this month, and it looks like Saunders drew the short straw.
Lindstrom, 30, spent parts of two seasons (2009 and ’10) as the closer in Florida. The right-hander has a fastball that tops out at 98 mph, but uses his 97-mph sinker and slider more often, according to fangraphs.com. He figures to slot in somewhere behind closer J.J. Putz. The Arizona Republic has more on the trade on its website.