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J.J. Putz Rumors
Last offseason's Hot Stove was notable for the hefty contracts signed by the likes of Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, but the abundance of closers in free agency was an interesting secondary arc. A few stoppers signed for big bucks, and if there were any takeaway, it was that many teams have not necessarily adopted a frugal philosophy with respect to bullpen spending.
The upcoming offseason's class of free-agent closers is pretty interesting, too, and several of its potential members have options for 2013. Here's a list of those pitchers and a very preliminary look at whether their options figure to be picked up:
- Matt Capps (2013 age: 29), $6MM club option with a $250K buyout: Capps' signing this offseason was maligned after he pitched poorly in 2011, but the Twins' bullpen was pretty barren, so it may have been a devil-you-know situation. He's pitching roughly the same so far this year, but the guess here is that if they were willing to bring him back after last year, they'll be willing to do so again. He could be a trade candidate, but I'm not sure there will be takers.
- Ryan Madson (32), $11MM mutual option with a $2.5MM buyout: The Reds will be on the hook for at least $2.5MM, so will they want to gamble an extra $8.5MM on a guy coming off Tommy John surgery? With Aroldis Chapman and Sean Marshall in the back of the Reds' bullpen, I think they'll pass.
- J.J. Putz (36), $6.5MM club option with a $1.5MM buyout: Putz is getting on in years, and his health is always a concern (including a DL stint during his brilliant 2011), but the right-hander is really good when he's on the mound. If he can get through this year relatively unscathed in terms of injury, which is no sure thing, I think the Diamondbacks will roll the dice, seeing as the penalty for snake eyes is relatively low.
- Joakim Soria (29), $8MM club option with a $750K buyout: Similar to the Reds and Madson, the Royals will have a tough decision to make with Soria coming off (a second) Tommy John surgery. They've been very reluctant to part with him via trade previously, so I'm thinking they'll pick up the option just to save face and see what he can yield — either in terms of on-field contributions or perhaps a trade later in the season if he comes back healthy.
- Huston Street (29), $9MM mutual option with a $500K buyout if club declines: The Padres will likely look to trade Street before this year's deadline, so his recent injury development must make them a little nervous. He has plenty of time to get healthy before the deadline, though, and I'd expect the Friars to move hard to flip him. If they can't, they could always pick up the option and then look to trade him again next summer.
- Grant Balfour (35), $4.5MM club option with a $350K buyout: The A's will be shopping Balfour hard before the deadline, as he'll draw plenty of interest, as MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith recently noted. Wherever he is, his option will look pretty attractive, with his durability and effectiveness probably trumping any concerns over his age.
- Rafael Soriano (33), $14MM player option or a $1.5MM buyout: Soriano is very likely to exercise this option, meaning the Yankees will almost certainly be paying this hefty tab in 2013. The temptation may be there for Soriano to decline and rake in another two- or three-year deal elsewhere on the market, but he can get one of those after 2013, assuming for health.
A few stray items of note on this Thursday evening …
- MVP voters who omit pitchers from their ballots should be recused from voting, opines Tracy Ringolsby of FOXSports.com. Voting rules stipulate that all players, including pitchers and DHs, be considered for the MVP, so Justin Verlander and Roy Halladay are legitimate candidates, explains Ringolsby.
- The Tigers' signing of Victor Martinez to a four-year contract is proving to be one of the better moves of the offseason, opines Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com.
- Nationals righty Chien-Ming Wang has been durable upon returning to the big leagues after missing two-plus years to injury, but he has trouble warming up his surgically repaired right shoulder before starts, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. Because of this, Wang, a free agent at season's end, has been struggling early in his starts before settling in.
- Each of the eight likely playoff teams boasts a strong relief tandem, writes Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. Half of them were formed in the past year: Last offseason, the Diamondbacks traded for David Hernandez and signed J.J. Putz, and the Tigers signed Joaquin Benoit. In July, the Brewers traded for Francisco Rodriguez and the Rangers acquired Mike Adams.
Another round of interleague play begins tonight, so let’s take a look at some players who switched leagues last winter and are off to hot starts in 2011. Here are a few of the players thriving in new leagues – and what it cost to acquire them:
- Cliff Lee – It cost $120MM in guaranteed money and a first round pick for the Phillies to reacquire Lee. He has a 3.84 ERA with a 68K/13BB ratio through 58 2/3 innings.
- Adam Dunn – After a slow start, Dunn has been hitting like his usual self this month and now has a .203/.321/.368 line. He cost the White Sox $56MM and the 23rd overall selection in this year's draft.
- J.J. Putz – Putz, one of many relievers to sign multiyear deals last winter, is living up to Arizona's $10MM investment. He has a 2.12 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 through 17 innings of work.
- Lance Berkman – Berkman wasn't out of the National League for long and he must be happy he's back. Though currently sidelined, the 35-year-old has a .349/.455/.683 line and is among the league leaders in many offensive categories. Well worth the Cards’ $8MM investment.
- Russell Martin – Easily one of the offseason's best bargains, Martin has a .268/.371/.480 line. Not only did he cost just $4MM, he's under team control in 2012.
- Jeff Francis – Francis has a 4.83 ERA with a 27K/10BB ratio through 54 innings and he cost just $2MM.
- Adrian Gonzalez – Gonzalez has a .314/.370/.560 line back in the American League, but he didn’t come cheap. The Padres obtained top pitching prospect Casey Kelly, former first rounder Reymond Fuentes and Anthony Rizzo, who is tearing through the Pacific Coast League. Rizzo has a .371/.443/.702 line through 174 plate appearances and it won't be long before he's making an impact at Petco Park.
- Shaun Marcum – Marcum is pitching better than ever for the Brewers and the Blue Jays are no doubt pleased with what 21-year-old Brett Lawrie’s doing to Triple-A pitching. The #40 prospect in the game, according to Baseball America, Lawrie has a .335/.395/.607 line with nine homers and as many steals.
- Matt Garza – Garza leads the National League with 11.0 K/9 and has a 3.72 ERA through 55 2/3 innings, though it took Chris Archer, Hak-Ju Lee, Robinson Chirinos, Sam Fuld and Brandon Guyer to acquire him. We've all heard about Fuld’s hot start and Guyer homered in his first MLB game.
Links for Saturday evening..
- New to Arizona, J.J. Putz tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that he's a perfect fit for the Diamondbacks.
- Second baseman Josh Barfield is competing for a utility spot on the Phillies but isn't concerned with talk of Luis Castillo, writes Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com.
- Brian MacPherson and Tim Britton of The Providence Journal wonder how much longer Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek will continue to play. Varitek could be asked to backup Jarrod Saltalamacchia in 2011 but could still be given plenty of playing time in a platoon. McPherson set the over/under at 2.5 years but Britton takes the under, pointing out that the list of catchers who have played the most games is chock full of players who retired before reaching 40-years-old. The team captain will celebrate his 39th birthday in less than a month.
- Pirates left-hander Joe Beimel was scratched again due to elbow pain today, which seems to contradict what GM Neal Huntington said yesterday after picking up Garrett Olson off of waivers, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Huntington insisted yesterday that the addition of Olson was not motivated by concern about Beimel or Scott Olsen.
- Pittsburgh right-hander Kevin Hart was on the bubble for a roster spot with the club and out of options for 2011, but the club will now have more time to consider him after a shoulder injury sent him to the 60-day DL, writes Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com.
- Dave Cameron of Fangraphs rallies against the tyranny of the corner label.
- Red Sox veteran David Ortiz told Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com that the pressure isn't off, even with the new additions.
- ESPN's Buster Olney (Insider req'd) hears from a talent evaluator that the best way for Kevin Millwood to get back to the big leagues is by signing with a team and pitching in games. "That's no way to win a job — sitting at home," said the source. Millwood's fastball was clocked at 85 mph during a recent workout.
- The Rangers ackowledge that Chris Davis has opened some eyes with his strong Spring Training, writes MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. He's under consideration for a roster spot, though teams have inquired about his availability.
- Now without star second baseman Dan Uggla, the Marlins are once again in a transitional phase, writes Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.
- While he really enjoyed his time in Houston, Lance Berkman is happy to be with the Cardinals, writes MLB.com's Brian McTaggart.
The Diamondbacks signed J.J. Putz to a two-year, $10MM deal with an option for 2013. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links), MLB.com's Steve Gilbert and Jon Heyman of SI.com all reported on the deal, which is official now that the reliever passed his physical. Putz earns $4MM in 2011, $4.5MM in 2012 and either $6.5MM or a $1.5MM buyout in 2013, according to Rosenthal. LSW Baseball represents Putz, who posted a 2.83 ERA with 10.8 K/9 in 54 innings last year.
The White Sox offered the Type B free agent arbitration, so they'll obtain a supplementary first round pick for losing Putz. Back on November 10th, two MLBTR writers predicted Putz would sign with the Diamondbacks.
2:59pm: The D'Backs are "pushing hard" to sign Putz to a two-year deal with a club option for 2013, reports MLB.com's Steve Gilbert.
The Diamondbacks have serious interest in J.J. Putz and may be close to signing the reliever to a multiyear deal. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter) that the team's interest is serious and MLB.com's Steve Gilbert reports that the sides are nearing a two-year deal with an option for 2013.
Earlier today, reports indicated that the Diamondbacks have serious interest in the reliever. The Diamondbacks, who have prioritized the reconstruction of their bullpen, already added relievers David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio today.
23 American League free agents were offered arbitration on November 23rd. Four of those - Joaquin Benoit, John Buck, Victor Martinez, and Javier Vazquez - already have new contract agreements. Current free agent Kevin Gregg has chosen to decline. The remaining 18 AL free agents offered arbitration will have their decisions noted here and in our tracker.
- Cliff Lee (A) declined the Rangers' offer, as expected.
- Miguel Olivo will decline the Blue Jays' offer, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Jason Frasor (A) will accept the team's offer, according to Mike Wilner of the FAN 590. Scott Downs (A) will decline the Blue Jays' offer, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported earlier that Jason Frasor would either sign a multiyear deal or accept arb (Twitter link).
- Adrian Beltre will decline arbitration from the Red Sox, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). Felipe Lopez (B) will also decline an offer of arbitration, reports WEEI's Rob Bradford.
- Carl Pavano (A) has officially turned down arbitration, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff (on Twitter). Orlando Hudson (B) will decline the Twins' offer of arbitration, tweets SI's Jon Heyman. Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune tweets of "strong indications" Jesse Crain (B) will also decline.
- A source tells Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times that Paul Konerko (A) will decline arbitration (Twitter link). J.J. Putz (B) declined arbitration from the White Sox, according to MLB.com's Scott Merkin (on Twitter).
- Chad Qualls (B) and Carl Crawford (A) have declined arbitration, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times (on Twitter). Grant Balfour (A) turned down arbitration, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). As anticipated, Randy Choate (B) declined the Rays' offer, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff. ESPN's Buster Olney predicted the decision earlier today. Rafael Soriano (A) will decline the Rays' arbitration offer, tweets SI's Jon Heyman. Brad Hawpe (B) will decline the Rays' offer as well, tweets SI's Jon Heyman.
- Frank Francisco (A) will accept the Rangers' offer, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Adrian Beltre | Boston Red Sox | Brad Hawpe | Carl Crawford | Carl Pavano | Chad Qualls | Chicago White Sox | Cliff Lee | Colorado Rockies | Felipe Lopez | Frank Francisco | Grant Balfour | J.J. Putz | Jason Frasor | Jesse Crain | Miguel Olivo | Minnesota Twins | Orlando Hudson | Paul Konerko | Rafael Soriano | Randy Choate | Scott Downs | Tampa Bay Rays | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays | Transactions
10 American League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make, and we'll group them in this post. For a fantastic customizable chart with all 65 Type A/B free agents and their decisions in real-time, click here.
- The Blue Jays offered arbitration to Scott Downs (A) Jason Frasor (A) Kevin Gregg (B) Miguel Olivo (B), according to MLB.com's Gregor Chisolm (on Twitter).
- The Twins offered arbitration to Carl Pavano (A), Jesse Crain (B) and Orlando Hudson (B) and declined to offer arbitration to Matt Guerrier (A), Brian Fuentes (B) and Jon Rauch (B), according to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (on Twitter).
- The Rays offered arbitration to Grant Balfour (A), Carl Crawford (A), Rafael Soriano (A), Randy Choate (B), Brad Hawpe (B) and Chad Qualls (B), according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. They did not offer Dan Wheeler (A) or Carlos Pena (B) arbitration. It seems possible that Hawpe has agreed in advance to turn down arbitration.
- The Orioles won't offer arbitration to Koji Uehara (B) or Kevin Millwood (B), according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter links).
- The Angels declined to offer Hideki Matsui (B) arbitration, the team announced.
- The Rangers offered arbitration to Cliff Lee (A) and Frank Francisco (A), but not to Vladimir Guerrero (A) and Bengie Molina (A), according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.
- The Yankees will offer arbitration to Javier Vazquez (B), but not to any of their other free agents, according to Ken Davidoff of Newsday on Twitter. Andy Pettitte (A), Derek Jeter (A), Mariano Rivera (A), Lance Berkman (B) and Kerry Wood (B) were the team's other ranked free agents. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported that the Yankees would offer Vazquez arbitration and noted that the right-hander has agreed to reject the offer, a common gentleman's agreement that can take place with Type B free agents. Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger first reported on Twitter that the Yankees would not offer Jeter arbitration.
- The Red Sox offered arbitration to Adrian Beltre (A), Victor Martinez (A) and Felipe Lopez (B), but not to Mike Lowell (B) or Jason Varitek (B), according to the team.
- The White Sox offered arbitration to Paul Konerko (A) and J.J. Putz (B), but not to A.J. Pierzynski (A) or Manny Ramirez (A) according to the team (on Twitter).
- As expected, the Tigers announced that they will not offer arbitration to any of their free agents, including Scott Boras clients Magglio Ordonez (A), Johnny Damon (B), and Gerald Laird (B).
Full Story | Comments | Categories: A.J. Pierzynski | Adrian Beltre | Andy Pettitte | Baltimore Orioles | Bengie Molina | Boston Red Sox | Brad Hawpe | Brian Fuentes | Carl Crawford | Carl Pavano | Carlos Pena | Chad Qualls | Chicago White Sox | Cliff Lee | Dan Wheeler | Derek Jeter | Detroit Tigers | Felipe Lopez | Frank Francisco | Gerald Laird | Grant Balfour | Hideki Matsui | J.J. Putz | Jason Frasor | Jason Varitek | Javier Vazquez | Jesse Crain | Johnny Damon | Jon Rauch | Kerry Wood | Kevin Gregg | Kevin Millwood | Koji Uehara | Lance Berkman | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Magglio Ordonez | Manny Ramirez | Mariano Rivera | Matt Guerrier | Miguel Olivo | Mike Lowell | Minnesota Twins | New York Yankees | Orlando Hudson | Paul Konerko | Rafael Soriano | Randy Choate | Scott Downs | Tampa Bay Rays | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays | Transactions | Victor Martinez | Vladimir Guerrero
The Diamondbacks had one of the worst bullpens in baseball history last season (league-worst 5.74 ERA), something new GM Kevin Towers will undoubtedly try to correct this offseason. Part of the solution could be free agent reliever J.J. Putz, whom the D'Backs have interest in according to Mark Gonzales of The Chicago Tribune.
Putz, 34 in February, was fantastic with the White Sox this year. He struck out 65 and walked just 13 unintentionally in 54 innings, pitching to a 2.83 ERA and holding opponents to a .204/.261/.313 batting line against. He did spend 16 days on the disabled list with knee tendinitis, a year after having bone spurs removed from his elbow. It's not long ago that Putz was one of the game's elite closers, a role he could easily fill in Arizona.
As Gonzales notes, Putz resides in nearby Peoria, something that will surely be attractive to the righty. The D'Backs also plan to pursue another former White Sox and Arizona resident, Paul Konerko. Putz earned $3MM in 2010 and is a Type-B free agent.