Are the Philadelphia Phillies Targeting J.J. Putz?

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Are the Philadelphia Phillies Targeting J.J. Putz?
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Yesterday we found out that the Philadelphia Phillies were eying John Smoltz as a low risk, high reward signing to shore up the back-end of the rotation or set up insurance in case Brad Lidge doesn’t right himself.

According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the Phils have inquired about free agent relief pitcher J.J. Putz. Crasnick also named the Pirates and Astros as other potential suitors along with the Rangers.

Putz suffered a lost season in 2009 while with the New York Mets, appearing in only 29 games before injuring his elbow, which required season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs.

The 32-year-old pitched only 29.1 innings with the Mets, compiling a 1-4 record and a 5.22 earned run average. New York acquired him last year to be their setup man to Francisco Rodriguez.

Just a couple of seasons ago, Putz was one of the game’s best relievers with the Seattle Mariners. He made the All-Star team in 2007 after putting together a 40-save season with a 1.38 ERA in 68 games.

After having a fantastic 2006 season, Seattle rewarded him with a three-year contract extension worth $13.1 million, which had a $9.1 million option, which the Mets obviously declined.

Putz’s agent, Craig Landis, said that he prefers to be a closer, however, he would be open to an eighth-inning job depending on the circumstances such as money, location, and chance to win.

The Atlanta Braves signed former Phillies closer Billy Wagner to a one-year contract worth $7-million, which is entirely way too high for a guy who is coming off Tommy John surgery.

Expect Putz and his agent to use Wags contract as a starting point in any negotiations because they have similar cases. Both players are coming off surgeries and have a strong track history.

If the asking price for Putz is anything close to what Wagner got from Atlanta, you can count the Phillies out of the running. They will not overpay for a relief pitcher, especially one who is coming off a surgery.

For more Phillies coverage, please go to my blog: Phillies Phandom

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