J.J. Putz signed on to be the Diamondbacks’ closer with a two-year, $10 million deal this offseason, but the veteran right-hander won’t make his spring training debut until March 7 despite nothing being wrong with him physically.
Arizona manager Kirk Gibson explained to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com that Putz will focus on building up his arm strength with bullpen sessions and long toss while likely only logging a total of around eight innings of actual game action. “Different people like to do it different ways,” Gibson said.
Putz threw 8.1 innings for the White Sox last spring and went on to have a fantastic season in a setup role, posting a 2.83 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 54 innings. If healthy, he’s one of the main reasons why I think the Diamondbacks are very capable of out-performing their low expectations this season.
Free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo is headed back to the Brewers on a major league deal, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports. No other terms have been reported yet, as the agreement is still pending a physical.
Gallardo, 31, completed a one-year run with the Mariners before getting his $13 million option declined by the team last month. He provided little value during his time in Seattle, pitching to a 5-10 record in 22 starts and putting up a 5.72 ERA, 4.1 BB/9 and 6.5 SO/9 in 130 2/3 innings as both a starter and reliever.
Still, assuming the veteran righty is on the cusp of a comeback, he may as well try for it with his original club. Gallardo last appeared for the Brewers from 2007 to 2014, racking up a cumulative 20.8 fWAR and peaking during the 2010 season, when he earned his first All-Star nomination and Silver Slugger award. This will be his ninth career season with the club.
Even with Gallardo aboard, the Brewers are expected to continue deepening their pitching stores for 2018. With team ace Jimmy Nelson still recovering from shoulder surgery, the club will enter the season with a projected rotation of Gallardo, Zach Davies, Chase Anderson and Junior Guerra, the latter of whom pitched just 70 1/3 innings in 2017 following a right calf strain and shin contusion. Another big name pitcher could help cement Milwaukee’s rotation and keep them competitive for another year, though they don’t appear to have made any concrete moves in that direction so far.