Tampa Bay Rays v Seattle Mariners

When the enormous Felix Hernandez contract extension was announced (or leaked), the Internet did its Internet thing. It ran the gamut of emotions, rushing opinions and perspective into your face from every possible angle.

There was nuance, there was glee, there was trepidation, there was cherry picking and finger wagging and tsk tsking. There was nostalgia and everything emotion under the sun for Mariners fans and fans of other teams, worrying about the prospective price tag for their homegrown pitching talent.

There was a general sense that, while locking up Felix Hernandez is probably best for the Mariners in terms of optics, it might be the kind of deal that prevents Seattle from doing other business. That Felix eats up so much of the Mariners overall payroll, they will forever cut corners trying to stay under budget.

With one bold move yesterday, Jack Z set all those fears aside.

Joe Saunders. Joe Saunders will save the day. On the same day the Felix extension trickled out and the Kelly Shoppach signing became official, the Mariners reached an agreement with free agent lefty Joe Saunders. And all was right in the Emerald City.

Joe Saunders might be a journeyman fourth starter on his best day but, as you will recall, the Orioles but that best day to great use in 2012, starting Joe Saunders in the American League wild card play-in game, a game Joe Saunders WON for Baltimore, allowing just a single run in 5 and 2/3 innings pitched. JOE SAUNDERS!

With Saunders in place, replacing the well-chewed innings of Jason Vargas, the Mariners have a sick 1-2 punch at the top of their rotation. The King and Joe, Saunders and Herndez. Look out, you Rangers and Angels. Josh Hamilton? Meet Joe Saunders. Oh, I see you already met.

Boom. Zdrone strike when you least expect it.

And the rest

The medical science behind Chris Carpenter‘s rib removal surgery – better for younger people, like all the good things in life. [St. Louis Dispatch]

Should Xander Bogaerts stay at shortstop? Let’s go with…probably. [Boston.com]

Which were the best defensive teams of the last decade? [Acta Sports]

Scott Boras is here to help because he senses an opportunity. [Rosenthal]

The Washington Nationals Winter Report Card. This one’s going on the fridge for sure. [Hit and Run]

This arbitration showdown for Shin-Soo Choo was pretty cool. [Baseball Prospectus]

Brian McCann might not be ready for Opening Day. [DOB, you guys]