BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 30: Joe Saunders #47 of the Texas Rangers looks on from the dugout during a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles on June 30, 2014 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
We all pretty much already knew it, and we think the Texas Rangers knew it, too.
But Tuesday's announcement that the Rangers designated starting pitching Joe Saunders for assignment was the first — on paper — official white flag in a season that will hopefully be remembered as nothing more than a catastrophic lost season and not the beginning of the end.
Saunders, who was brought in during the spring to add pitching depth when it was obvious Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison weren't going to be ready for the start of the season, was far from great. He wasn't even really good. But as sad as it is, since Martin Perez's season ended, he might have been the Rangers' second-best starter behind Yu Darvish.
His awful start on Monday was the final nail in Saunders' coffin as he ends his stint with the Rangers with an 0-5 record and a 6.13 ERA in his eight starts. So he was the Rangers' second-best starter for a stretch, you say? Well, he was pretty good for a bit.
After coming off the disabled list, Saunders made four starts that were solid. In those four outings, Saunders was 0-1 with a 2.42 ERA and allowed just one home run. In the three since then, starting with his start against the Angels on June 20, he was 0-3 with an 11.20 ERA.
So yeah, it wasn't a surprising move, necessarily, but to see the Rangers shed veteran pitching depth who had been solid for stretches of time was a clear sign that it's time to groom some guys for 2015 and let 2014 disappear into their memory abyss.