As expected, the Mets have declined their $8.6 million option on J.J. Putz for 2010 by exercising a $1 million buyout.
Putz posted a 5.22 ERA and 1.64 WHIP in just 29 games before undergoing
right elbow surgery in June. He was shut down for good after suffering
a strained right forearm during a rehab assignment in August.
Omar Minaya made upgrading the bullpen his top
priority last winter, first inking Francisco Rodriguez to a three-year,
$37 million contract in December, then swiftly dealing for Putz, Sean
Green and Jeremy Reed. Minaya was lauded at the time,
but Putz looked like damaged goods from the start, losing almost two
MPH on his fastball while averaging a career-high 5.83 BB/9. While
Rodriguez’s 3.71 ERA and 1.31 WHIP (both career-highs) were just a
minor blip on the Mets’ disaster in 2009, his 6.75 ERA after the
All-Star break is troublesome.
According to his agent Craig Landis, Putz hasn’t ruled out a return to New York on an incentive-laden contract,
but he can’t be expected to be a top-notch set-up man coming off elbow
surgery. While a return is possible, look for the Mets attempt to sign a right-hander of
Kiko Calero’s ilk to use in tandem with left-hander Pedro Feliciano.
Putz could be make for a nice reclamation project for a
number of teams (Phillies?).
In other news, the Mets announced that they have picked up Mike Pelfrey’s $500,000 option for 2010.
Mariners’ right-hander Felix Hernandez is looking at a 3-4 week recovery period, the team announced on Friday. Hernandez has been officially diagnosed with bursitis in his right shoulder after getting pulled from his last start against the Tigers on Tuesday.
It’s not the first shoulder issue the 31-year-old righty has dealt with during his career. Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times notes that Hernandez was previously diagnosed with bursitis during a minor league stint in 2005, several weeks prior to making his major league start for Seattle. This time around, however, the injury is coupled with a few years of not-so-sharp stuff, waning velocity and career-low numbers, and while it’s certainly not a worst-case diagnosis, it seems like greater cause for concern.
Without Felix, the Mariners will keep rolling with James Paxton, Hisashi Iwakuma, Ariel Miranda, Yovani Gallardo and Chase De Jong in their rotation. They’ll also keep Ben Gamel in right field, with starting right fielder Mitch Haniger expected to miss 3-4 weeks after sustaining a Grade 2 strain in his right oblique on Tuesday.
The Rays acquired minor league reliever Drew Smith from the Tigers on Friday, per a team announcement. The move will close the loop on the trade the two teams began in January for backup outfielder Mikie Mahtook.
Smith, 23, pitched his first full season in Single-A West Michigan in 2016, turning in a 2.96 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 11.5 SO/9 in 48 2/3 innings. The right-hander is still several levels away from making any impact on the Rays’ major league roster, but appears to be progressing steadily in two seasons of pro ball and has delivered two runs, four walks and 12 strikeouts in his first 11 2/3 innings at High-A Lakeland this season. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that he’ll be reassigned to the Rays’ High-A Charlotte this week.