Free Agent Stock Watch: J.J. Putz

Adding right-handed reliever J.J. Putz last December for a $3MM guarantee was a brilliant move by White Sox GM Kenny Williams.  Putz's stock is back up after a lost 2009; let's take a look.

The Good

  • In four of the last five seasons, including last year, Putz struck out more than ten batters per nine innings.  His control with the Sox this year returned to an acceptable level, at 2.5 walks per nine.  Putz posted a solid 48.5% groundball rate, his best since '06.  He had no problems getting left-handed hitters out.  His 2.83 ERA was well-deserved.
  • Putz has closing experience from 2006-08 with the Mariners.  With an average fastball velocity of 94.0, he can be intimidating in the ninth inning.
  • He's a Type B free agent, so he won't cost a draft pick to sign regardless of whether the White Sox offer arbitration.

The Bad

  • Putz, 34 in February, hasn't reached 55 innings in a season since '07.  His only ailment this year was a knee injury, but he had surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow in June of '09.
  • It may have been related to the elbow injury, but Putz walked 5.6 per nine innings from 2008-09.  He walked 4.8 per nine over the last two months of this season.
  • Potentially, Putz could seek a multiyear deal or a salary matching his '09 base of $5MM.

The Verdict

Closing jobs are hard to come by, but my guess is that Putz will instruct his agent at LSW Baseball to seek such an opportunity first.  That could mean the Rays, Blue Jays, Angels, Braves, Marlins, or Diamondbacks.  He could also stay close to home and sign with the Tigers, or set up for teams such as the Red Sox, Yankees, Rangers, Cubs, or Cardinals.  Two years and $10MM seems plausible.


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24 Comments on "Free Agent Stock Watch: J.J. Putz"


caseyo4
4 years 8 months ago

Tigers would be a good fit for him. I thought so last year too…

EdinsonPickle
4 years 8 months ago

I loved watching this guy close for the Mariners in 07. I’d like to see closing with the Rays, but he might be too pricey for their taste. He is an intriguing case though because he can close or set up; there are so many teams where he could fit in well.

Brandon Woodworth
4 years 8 months ago

Braves or Rays sound good to me at about $5m.

Randy_McWeen
4 years 8 months ago

what do teams see in him? He’s unreliable and just not good…and $5MM…really?

Brandon Woodworth
4 years 8 months ago

I believe teams see this in him:

In four of the last five seasons, including last year, Putz struck out more than ten batters per nine innings. His control with the Sox this year returned to an acceptable level, at 2.5 walks per nine. Putz posted a solid 48.5% groundball rate, his best since ’06. He had no problems getting left-handed hitters out. His 2.83 ERA was well-deserved.
Putz has closing experience from 2006-08 with the Mariners. With an average fastball velocity of 94.0, he can be intimidating in the ninth inning.
He’s a Type B free agent, so he won’t cost a draft pick to sign regardless of whether the White Sox offer arbitration.

And how is one lost season make him not good?

Randy_McWeen
4 years 8 months ago

the type B free agent part is the only good thing goin. 2-3MM thats it. Anything 5MM or above is ridiculous for a guy like Putz

Brandon Woodworth
4 years 8 months ago

So the 2.83 ERA and getting half of his batters to ground out, striking out 10 per 9 and only walking 2-3 per 9 are just downright terrible assets?

Randy_McWeen
4 years 8 months ago

Go look at his stats. He pitched in a lot of situations when they were ahead by a lot or down a lot..sprinkle in some situations where they were tied or ahead by 1…This yeard, he pitched in 60 gms, finished 16 of them and saved three…unreliable, 5MM is too much, not to mention 10MM over two like Tim said.

jwsox
4 years 8 months ago

what are you basing that off of? his one year with the mets when he got hurt? he has been very consistant over the past years…he may not be one of those “oh my god here comes putz, we are done” type pitchers but he was a great set up guy this past year with the sox and has been very good as a closer for the sox and other teams

iains
4 years 8 months ago

There’s a lot to like for the Blue Jays. The price makes him comparable to Gregg with more upside. Plus they would get him as a Type B, but if he repeats last year that will vault him into type A. AA is all about getting those extra draft picks. Putz looks like a prime opportunity to pick more up.

jwsox
4 years 8 months ago

I really really hope the whitesox at the very least offer him arb….I also hope kenny look at his bullpen and realizes they need him back…I hope they resign him simply because he will get the chance to close…santos needs a little more work to become the closer of the future, If the whitesox dont resign him I really hope they go hard after soriano. Or even get both…if the back end of the whitesox bullpen is santos, putz, thornton, soriano…thats a scary very very good bullpen…throw sale into the mix thats a top pen in the bigs…

4 years 8 months ago

If Sale gets moved to the bullpen, I officially have no faith in this organization in handling prospects. He belongs in the rotation in 2012 or 2013. And if you re-sign Putz AND bring in Soriano, then I guess Viciedo and Flowers are starters.

Since Ozzie feels the need for two lefties, I say throw Erick Threets into the mix. He had a good spring training this year, he did a good job in limited action with the big club, and come on, he made the top play on SportsCenter.

jwsox
4 years 8 months ago

what does signing putz and soriano have to do with vicedo and flowers starting? viciedo might start at DH or even first anyway…

Beauford
4 years 8 months ago

Threets blew out his arm last year. He’s done for 2011 at the least.

jwsox
4 years 8 months ago

why is sale in the bullpen a bad idea? it is actually a smart move which a ton of teams do for the potential top of the rotation prospects…it gives them a chance to get work in against major league hitters with out hurting them too much, let him pitch an inning here and there, then bump it up to two innings, then be the long guy/ emergency starter then after a year of that he goes into the rotation…it is a smart move that really lets you see if he can handle big league hitters more consistantly

Beauford
4 years 8 months ago

I too want Putz back as the closer. The guy had something like 25 consecutive appearances last year without giving up a run. Just as important, he proved his arm is healthy again. Maybe playing again with his long-time buddy Matt Thornton will have an effect on his decision. Since Putz is only a Type B free agent and will not cost his new team a draft choice, there will be a plenty of interest in him. The Sox offering Putz arbitration is an absolute certainty.

On the other hand, Soriano is a Type A free agent and would cost the Sox their 1st round draft choice. I wouldn’t do that especially if Putz is re-signed.

elmedius
4 years 8 months ago

a 2 year deal with the braves? with venters and kimbrel around? eh…. id cross them off the list if he wants anywhere near $10 for 2 seasons.

4 years 8 months ago

If he does accept a setup role and decides to stay close to home he could be a good fit for the Cubs. They’re looking for a right-handed, late inning reliever and he could possibly be cheaper than Kerry Wood. I’m guessing he goes for the closing role somewhere else though, that’s where the real money is, if not this contract then the next.

4 years 8 months ago

He could re-sign with the White Sox and close for them. Everybody in Chicago knows Bobby Jenks is as good as gone, and Matt Thornton has said he’d rather be an 8th inning guy than a closer, though there’s not a doubt in my mind Thornton could and would close if asked to.

foxtown
4 years 8 months ago

My thoughts exactly. They are done with Bobby and Santos is not ready to be a closer.

SplitFingeredPujol
4 years 8 months ago

If I recall, Thornton said he’d love for the opportunity to close as soon as a few weeks ago.

4 years 8 months ago

If in fact Thornton prefers a set up role, Putz is a great fit for the Sox. He can close and maybe be signed for a 2 year deal ,,,10-11 million. It would save the Sox some real cash by letting Jenks go and signing JJ. Then they would still need one more solid arm in the pen. As good as Sale was last year, I think hes probably going to be a starter in the future so a year at AAA or AA would be good for him.

jwsox
4 years 8 months ago

putz on a two year deal is cheaper then jenks…a 2 yr 10 mill deal for putz would be a 2yr 20 mill deal for jenks…yes bobby has been lights out in the past and some times even in this past season he was un hittable…im not saying dont bring bobby back but non tender him and maybe bring him back on the cheap…putz at 2 yrs should give santos plenty of time to be ready for the closers job

Lanidrac
4 years 8 months ago

Why would the Cardinals need a right-handed setup man, especially one with as high a salary as $5M a year? Kyle McClellan and Jason Motte have been doing a great job for a lot less money.