Results tagged ‘ J.J. Putz ’

Tigers still looking at veteran relievers

Unless the Tigers go with an experimental 10-man bullpen, they’ll have more young relievers than they’ll likely have spots in their bullpen once the agreed-upon trade of Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson becomes official. But that apparently doesn’t rule out the Tigers dealing for a veteran closer.

Quite the opposite, the Tigers would like one, and they’re expanding their search after Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon turned down Detroit’s arbitration offers late Monday night. They remain interested in bringing one of them back, but they’re preparing as if both of them move on.

Whether it’s Lyon, Rodney or someone else, the Tigers are hoping to have a veteran reliever.

“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.”

By adding potential future closer Daniel Schlereth from Arizona and lefty Phil Coke from the Yankees, Detroit further bolstered a group of young relievers that Dombrowski already praised for its potential depth. Ryan Perry was already expected to compete for a setup role next spring, while similar hard-throwing righties Cody Satterwhite and Robbie Weinhardt could crack the big leagues later in the season after getting more seasoning at Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo.

Add in lefty Fu-Te Ni, still-young Zach Miner and a potentially healthy Joel Zumaya, and Detroit’s bullpen has the chance to be very deep, very soon. That doesn’t, however, mean that they’re going to take over the late innings completely quite yet.

When asked about an established closer on Monday, Dombrowski suggested the Tigers could go a different route. On Tuesday, Dombrowski confirmed they were talking with more veteran arms, as well as maintaining talks on Rodney and Lyon.

“Both of them were looking for multi-year deals,” Dombrowski said. “They made that clear. We continue to have interest in them, but I’m also sure that they want to explore what’s out there, and that’s what they’re doing. We continue to talk to them and are interested in them.”

Whether the Tigers would be willing to offer a multi-year deal just became an interesting question. A trade of Granderson and Jackson will open up payroll space, giving the Tigers some much-needed flexibility to address needs. However, it also gives Detroit yet another closing option for the very near future.

The rest of the market is an interesting mix of candidates, and the Tigers are exploring. A FOXSports.com report listed Detroit among clubs interested in free agent J.J. Putz, a trade market of the Tigers last year before the Mariners traded their former closer to the Mets. Any interest would be relatively new; Detroit hadn’t so much as talked with Putz’s agent as of last week.

Detroit also was reportedly among a handful of teams with early interest in former Cubs closer Kevin Gregg.

“We did talk to a couple people, yes, once we knew that they were not accepting arbitration for sure,” Dombrowski said. “Now, we continue to have interest in [Rodney and Lyon], but we also have to start doing our homework. In case they go to other places, we have to be prepared.”

Tigers would interest Putz

Yes, free agent reliever J.J. Putz confirmed, the Tigers would be a situation that interests him.  But then, a lot of situations would interest him.

“I’d have interest in most teams, including the Tigers,” Putz wrote in an email to MLB.com Tuesday.

In other words, while a homecoming to Michigan might be a good fit for Putz, it wouldn’t be the only fit.

Both Putz and his agent, Craig Landis, said the Tigers have not contacted them. He technically didn’t become a free agent until this past weekend, after the Mets declined to pick up his option for next season. The Mets still hold exclusive negotiating rights with Putz until Nov. 20, though other clubs can call to express interest and talk in non-financial terms.

The intrigue surrounding Putz and Detroit stems from his Michigan upbringing, his college career at the University of Michigan, and the trade discussions the Tigers had with the Mariners last winter before Seattle sent him to the Mets in a three-team trade.

The Tigers moved on, signed Brandon Lyon later in the offseason, and went with Fernando Rodney as their closer out of Spring Training. Rodney and Lyon are both free agents.

The chance to close somewhere is definitely appealing, Putz said, though it isn’t the only situation he’d consider.

“I’d rather be a closer,” Putz wrote, “but I am open to setup jobs, depending on the fit.”

As for how he’s feeling after undergoing surgery in June to remove bone spurs from his throwing elbow, Putz was upbeat.

“My arm feels great! I’ve been throwing and rehabbing with no pain,” he wrote.

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