Putz and the Tigers, revisited

putz.jpgJason Beck / MLB.com

While Fernando Rodney filed for free agency and Brandon Lyon weighs his options on the open market, the Tigers might well be gaining another option at closer once the Mets make their expected decision to decline now that the Mets formally declined the 2010 option on J.J. Putz.

A year ago, the Tigers were deep in talks with the Mariners for Putz, then Seattle’s closer but on the trading block. A deal with Detroit was supposed to be the dream situation for Putz, the Trenton, Mich. native who pitched at the University of Michigan. But the M’s reportedly wanted both Matt Joyce and Jeff Larish as part of a return package, while the Tigers would only offer Joyce. That opened the door for the Mets to snag Putz in a three-way trade that the Indians helped facilitate to help keep Putz out of the division.

It’s a way different situation now, of course, and Putz as a free agent is just part of it. The Tigers, spurned by Seattle, sent Joyce to the Rays for Edwin Jackson. Putz battled elbow problems all year en route to a disappointing season as a setup man for Francisco Rodriguez.

The Tigers aren’t looking for a high-priced closer, but after two years of injury concerns, Putz has the chance to be more of a low-risk, high-reward signing. On Putz’s side, it’s believed he would not only enjoy a chance to pitch for his hometown team, but welcome the chance to close again. It could be quite a match.

For now, it’s just theoretical. Putz hasn’t filed for free agency yet, and once he does, the Tigers can only talk interest and not contract terms with him until Nov. 20.

On a side note, looking back at the Putz trade, the Mariners had by far the best of that deal thanks to a player who was little more than a side mention in the deal. Franklin Gutierrez went from Cleveland to Seattle, got a full-time job in the M’s outfield and proceeded to set career highs with a .283 average, 18 homers, 70 RBIs and 16 stolen bases while playing stellar defense in center.

7 Comments

geeeesh, we gotta put our faith in Putz, now? FML!!!!!

The chance to bring someone in who has ties to the team and has something to prove? I think it’s a no-brainer, provided he’s healthy and they can do something for a reasonable amount of money. I certainly don’t want them to say “Now we’ve got our closer and we can move on”, but he would be a great piece to add and we should do it.
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matt

Two things: I want to get Brandon Lyon signed, and I’d want to know the situation on Putz’s elbow. Elbows are tricky and the last thing we need is another injured non-contributor.
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If both of the above are in order, I see no reason not to pursue a possible signing here. These are the kind of deals a team with no payroll flexibility has to make. One upside is I assume Putz WANTS to play here. As we’ve seen, that can’t be said of all of our personnel. One downside would be JL behaving as usual and installing Putz as the closer come hell or high water, thus leaving Lyon to watch as JL plays lefty-righty in the 8th inning again. I realize I bring up Leyland a lot but it doesn’t matter what personnel you assemble if they aren’t managed correctly.
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A thought on Marcus Thames. I believe his window of opportunity was during the 2006, 2007, and 2008 seasons. He wasn’t the same hitter this year. I don’t know if his confidence took a hit or he just got older or what, but I do think he pressed this season after waiting so long for an opportunity. His body language during his ABs was very revealing. Best of luck to Marcus, and I’m sure he’ll hook up with someone, probably in the NL where he’ll excel. I know everyone agrees with me when I say we were always proud to have Marcus Thames as one of our guys.
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–Rich

With Lyon wanting to know his role for 2010 before weighing any moves, I doubt we are going to again have the luxury of having a choice for the 2010 closer role unless you call Perry and Zoom options.
Lyon made $4.25m in 2009 and could easily get picked up by the Yankees for around $6m as they know better than anyone you don’t need a closer to throw hard to be effective. On a side note, I can’t remember a World Series being won with so few start and relief pitching contributions.
I no doubt will be wrong but I can’t see a GM paying Rodney more than $6m as his high wire acts were well known together with his 4.40 (ugly) ERA, 41 (ugly) BB’s from 75IP. His 5.67 ERA for LICG and 10.8 ERA for RISP further indicate his 37 saves from 38 attempts will end up being a statistical anomaly in his career.
With Putz already got $1m in the bank for 2010, he may well be next years $4m closer option if DD cant go over his $5m budget like he had this year.

The inherent risk in signing Putz is too much.His days of greatness have passed.I have visions of too many games where JJ strides out with AC/DC blaring in the background,the following sounds of some heavy cracks of a bat and the game ending. Pass on Putz.

And to think, we came within an inch of signing him last year. He was to be our blue chip closer. I’d like to see him in Detroit if his arm is OK.

Things I learned while looking up other things:
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Anyone think it’s coincidence that Thames hit no homers after Huff arrived, especially considering that 9 of Marcus’s 13 homers had come off RHers up to that point?
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Just sayin’……………..
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–Rich

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