Putnam, who’ll soon turn 30, was off to a very strong start to the current season before his elbow flared off. Through 8 2/3 innings, he had allowed just one earned run on two hits while recording nine strikeouts against just one walk.
That showing came on the heels of a strong 2016 — at least when he wasn’t dealing with elbow troubles. In fact, since landing with the White Sox, Putnam carries an excellent 2.71 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 over 139 1/3 frames.
While he doesn’t bring much in the way of velocity, Putnam wields a devastating split-finger fastball. That offering has enabled him to boost his swinging-strike rate in each of his four years with the South Siders, starting at a strong 14.0% rate and climbing all the way to 19.4% in his shortened 2017 campaign.
All told, the White Sox have reason to hope that Putnam can again be an impactful arm in the bullpen, if he can work back to health. But the surgery means that he’ll be on the shelf for one of his final two seasons of arbitration control. He’s earning just $1.175MM this year, though, so the club could decide to pay that rate again for each of the next two campaigns and hope that Putnam returns to health for 2019.