J.J. Putz Rumors

White Sox May Be Finished With Offseason Shopping

MLB.com's Scott Merkin reports that White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen seems satisfied to stand pat with the current composition of his roster, a decision that would leave Chicago without the everyday DH that seemed to be the club's top priority this winter.

Guillen tells Merkin that he likes the idea of using several different players (such as Andruw Jones, Paul Konerko, Mark Kotsay, Jayson Nix, or even Omar Vizquel) as a designated hitter depending on matchups or, in Konerko's case, to rest him without taking him out of the lineup altogether.

Chicago GM Kenny Williams doesn't sound entirely convinced with this plan, but seems to be willing to acquisece to Guillen on this front.  Williams told Merkin, "I don't want to do anything that conflicts with what my manager wants….Regardless if I think there might be a need for another left-handed bat in middle of the lineup, he's the one in there, and I fully support how he sees the situation fitting and piecing it together."

It's not like the Southsiders haven't been active this offseason — they acquired Mark Teahen and Juan Pierre in trades and signed Jones, Vizquel and J.J. Putz.  But given all of the high-profile designated hitter options on the market this winter, it's safe to say that White Sox fans were counting on a bit more than just Jones and Vizquel as DH upgrades.  Do you think that Williams should, in fact, look to acquire that left-handed bat or do you agree with Guillen and think the Sox roster is fine as it is?

Odds & Ends: Balfour, Orioles, Chapman, Lowe

Rounding up the first batch of miscellaneous Sunday links….

  • The Rays agreed to terms with reliever Grant Balfour, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. Balfour signed a one-year, $2.05MM deal, avoiding arbitration.
  • The Baltimore Orioles are still searching for a closer, writes Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. Zrebiec suggests that Fernando Rodney and Kevin Gregg could be atop the O's list of targets.
  • MASN's Roch Kubatko runs down the Orioles' closing options too, adding new free agent Matt Capps to the mix.
  • Meanwhile, Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has reaction from GM Neal Huntington, who says that media reports of the 26-year-old being non-tendered hurt his trade value.  Huntington also said that the Bucs would "love" to have him back in the bullpen – at the right price.  Capps isn't on the Yankees radar, says Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger (via Twitter).
  • John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press writes that the Tigers' closer search also continues. The team was looking at J.J. Putz, but backed off because of health questions, not money concerns.
  • Tuesday could be "Judgment Day" for Aroldis Chapman, according to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez. Chapman will throw a session with a slew of teams expected to be in attendance.
  • Within a piece which focuses on yesterday's non-tender decisions, ESPN.com's Buster Olney mentions that a handful of clubs are interested in Brian Giles, including the Yankees and Reds. It's still up in the air whether teams will be willing to offer Giles more than a minor league contract.
  • One interesting tidbit from the latest article by Newsday's Ken Davidoff: An AL West official tells Davidoff that he'd like to see Jered Weaver, rather than Joe Saunders, leaving the division in a potential Roy Halladay trade offer. I have to think Jays fans would agree. Both pitchers were selected 12th overall in their respective drafts: Saunders in 2002 and Weaver in 2004.
  • Speaking of the AL West, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports thinks it's the most intriguing division for hot stove news this winter.
  • David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (via Twitter) says that the Angels are a possible destination for Derek Lowe if they cannot re-sign John Lackey.  Other possibilities include the Mariners, Red Sox and Yanks.  O'Brien also suggests the Mets, provided that the Braves are willing to trade within their division.

White Sox, J.J. Putz Agree To Terms

The White Sox reached a one-year, $3MM deal with reliever J.J. Putz, tweets MLB.com's Noah CoslovAOL FanHouse's Ed Price tweets that Putz can earn another $3MM in incentives for games finished.  Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets of another $250K in incentives for appearances.  A Bobby Jenks trade might be good for Putz's wallet. 

Putz was scheduled to throw for teams today; he had also drawn interest from the Cubs, Nationals, Pirates, Tigers, D'Backs, and Phillies.  The righty, 33 in February, tallied only 29.3 innings this year for the Mets due to elbow issues.  He was dominant for the Mariners in '06 and '07.

On a related note, MLB.com's Scott Merkin reports that Sox reliever D.J. Carrasco could be non-tendered tomorrow.  Carrasco, 33 in April, posted a 3.76 ERA, 6.0 K/9, and 2.8 BB/9 in 93.3 innings this year.  His peripheral stats weren't much different from Brandon Lyon's.

Phillies Bullpen Search: Dotel, Putz, Smoltz

The Phillies are moving on to other bullpen options, now that the Astros have signed Brandon LyonScott Lauber of the News Journal reports that the Phils have had conversations with the representatives for Octavio Dotel and J.J. Putz. They're negotiating with Chan Ho Park, but Lauber hears that other teams might be interested in Park as a starter, which he would prefer.

Lyon had been linked to the Phillies for weeks before former Phillies GM Ed Wade signed him to a $15MM deal with the Astros. As Amaro tells Lauber, the Phillies were interested until the end.

"We were in there pretty deep,” Amaro said. “Ed stole him from us.”

The Phils also had productive talks with John Smoltz, who seems willing to pitch in a small ballpark for the chance to win another title. We heard earlier in the week that the Nats are also interested in Smoltz.

Relief Names On D’Backs’ Radar

The Arizona Republic's Nick Piecoro gives us three relief names on the D'Backs' radar, now that LaTroy Hawkins is off the board: J.J. Putz, Bob Howry, and Brendan Donnelly.  The D'Backs already added Aaron Heilman on November 19th.

Putz will reportedly throw for teams tomorrow; he's got the White Sox, Cubs, Nationals, Pirates, and Tigers as other known suitors.  We haven't heard much on Howry and Donnelly yet.  I think Donnelly is a possible sleeper, as outlined in this October discussion post.

The Diamondbacks can certainly expand their search beyond those three righty relievers - we outlined the free agent market here and trade market here.

White Sox Made Offer To J.J. Putz

THURSDAY, 2:53pm: ESPN's Bruce Levine wrote last night that the White Sox made an offer to Putz, though other teams are involved and the reliever will work out for teams on Friday.

WEDNESDAY, 9:20pm: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that other teams are involved with Putz. 

3:57pm: Yesterday Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times said the White Sox were closing in on a deal with free agent reliever J.J. Putz, perhaps encouraging Putz's friend Matt Thornton to leverage their bromance as a recruiting tool.  Today, Williams implied that leaks of the team's interest affected the possible deal.  Cowley thinks they'll still get it done:

The Sox might have to up the ante a bit, but Putz wants to pitch on the South Side and there is still a deal close to happening.

Putz, 33 in February, pitched only 29.3 innings this year due to elbow issues.

Orioles Rumors: Millwood, Uggla, Atkins, Beltre

WEDNESDAY, 10:02am: Millwood update: Zrebiec says the Rangers originally wanted David Hernandez and a low-level prospect for Millwood, and were willing to pay $3MM of the $12MM owed to the veteran.  Meanwhile Zrebiec's colleague Peter Schmuck says Chris Ray could be involved and the Rangers would pick up most of Millwood's salary, in one scenario.

TUESDAY, 9:36pm: Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun reports that the O's are still exchanging trade proposals with the Rangers for Kevin Millwood. T.R. Sullivan reported that the Rangers wanted Chris Tillman initially, but talks have since developed. The Orioles are among the frontrunners for Millwood.

The O's met with the Marlins about Dan Uggla, but the Marlins want two pitching prospects in return and the Orioles are reluctant to hand that kind of package over. The Marlins have one less suitor for Uggla, according to Andrew Baggarly, who says the Giants aren't serious bidders, so that could lower the asking price for the arbitration-eligible infielder.

Here are even more O's rumors:

  • Kevin Kouzmanoff and Garrett Atkins interest the O's to an extent.
  • Joe Crede and Pedro Feliz remain options for Baltimore, but Adrian Beltre has priced himself out of reach.
  • We heard about their interest in Hank Blalock, Carlos Delgado and Nick Johnson earlier today.
  • They also have "tepid" interest in Russell Branyan.
  • The Orioles aren't particularly intrigued by Joe Blanton and Derek Lowe, who are both available via trade.
  • Vladimir Guerrero, Adam LaRoche, Jose Valverde and Kevin Gregg all interest the O's slightly.
  • They do have interest in Rafael Soriano, and spoke with the Braves about him.
  • They're not interested in J.J. Putz.
  • MLB.com's Spencer Fordin reports that the Royals engaged the O's in Felix Pie trade talks without ever coming close to a deal.

Cubs Rumors: Bradley, Cameron, Putz

Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times passes on the latest updates he has heard regarding a potential Milton Bradley trade. His source indicates that neither Texas or Tampa Bay is the destination for Bradley in this rumored scenario, and that the Cubs are "ready to pull the trigger" as soon as the other team is. Here are Wittenmyer's other Cubs rumors:

  • A Cubs source denies that the team has any interest in Melky Cabrera.
  • Mike Cameron is at or near the top of the club's center field wish list.
  • The Cubs are interested in J.J. Putz, and were among the teams that watched the righty throw this winter.
  • Though Chicago was disappointed to miss out on Curtis Granderson, a club source insists that the Bradley discussions didn't hinder the Cubs' ability to pursue Granderson.
  • There is no truth to any Bradley-Carlos Silva trade rumors, according to a Seattle source.
  • If the Cubs can eventually move Bradley, they could be on the market for a mid-level starter.

Tigers Expanding Search For Veteran Reliever

The Tigers' acquisition of young bullpen arms in Tuesday's blockbuster trade won't stop them from adding a veteran reliever, according to Jason Beck of MLB.com. Beck writes that the Tigers have expanded their search for a potential veteran closer after Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon declined arbitration.

The team added Daniel Schlereth and Phil Coke on Tuesday and is still open to bringing back either Lyon or Rodney. In the meantime, however, they're going to take their time looking at other options on the market.

"It doesn't have to be now," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said. "We didn't sign Brandon Lyon [last winter] until late January, but ideally we'd like to have somebody [experienced] out there, yes."

The Tigers will presumably be looking to add a right-handed arm since, as MLive.com's Steve Kornacki points out, they're facing a lefty overload in their bullpen. The club has been linked to J.J. Putz and to Kevin Gregg so far this week.

Rangers Tuesday Recap

Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas rounds up some Texas Rangers-related rumors from the second day of the winter meetings. We've heard one or two of these already, but let's check out the highlights of Durrett's recap….

  • The Rangers are looking to bolster their bullpen, and names of interest include J.J. Putz, Matt Lindstrom, and Brett Myers. Ramon Ramirez and Chris Ray are also on their radar.
  • As FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi indicated earlier today, no Kevin Millwood trade appears imminent. A few teams are interested, but the Rangers will pull the trigger only on "the right deal." Presumably the "right" return is more about money than talent.
  • If the club is able to move Millwood, they'd look to fill the hole in their rotation with another veteran starter. Ben Sheets and Rich Harden are potential options, with the Rangers hoping to meet with Sheets' agent this week.
  • Dealing Millwood would also allow Texas to free up some money to pursue a right-handed bat. Perhaps Vladimir Guerrero or Jermaine Dye.
  • The team is looking for a catcher as well. Durrett names Jason Kendall, Rod Barajas, Jose Molina, and Yorvit Torrealba as targets.
  • Durrett and others heard earlier that the Rangers offered top prospects Neftali Feliz and Justin Smoak to Florida in exchange for Josh Johnson. Another official denies that Texas made that proposal, but suggests that the team does have interest in Johnson.