Source: D-backs’ Saunders non-tendered

The Arizona Diamondbacks in recent weeks attempted to negotiate a multiyear contract with left-hander Joe Saunders. But the two sides could not agree upon a deal, and the team took the dramatic step Monday night of declining to offer Saunders a contract, according to a major-league source.

Saunders, 30, immediately becomes one of the more attractive lefties available on the free-agent market, joining Paul Maholm and Jeff Francis. Over the past two seasons, Saunders’ numbers were comparable to those of Mark Buehrle, who recently signed a four-year, $58 million free-agent deal with the Miami Marlins.

It is highly unlikely that Saunders will command a contract even close to that level, but he went 21-30 with a 4.07 ERA in 415 1/3 innings in 2010-11. Buerhle was 26-22 with a 3.94 ERA in 415 2/3 innings.

The Diamondbacks also did not offer right-hander Micah Owings a contract on Monday. The team will continue trying to re-sign Owings and Saunders, the sources said.

Owings, 29, went 8-0 with a 3.57 ERA in 33 appearances last season, four starts.