Diamondbacks expected to pick up J.J. Putz’s option for 2013

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This shouldn’t come as a big surprise, but Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic yesterday that the club will almost certainly exercise the $6.5 million club option on J.J. Putz’s contract for next season.

“We’ll have time to make that decision, but he hasn’t done anything performance-wise to lead us to believe he wouldn’t be here,” Towers said.

Putz has proved to be an excellent bargain during his two-year, $10 million contract with Arizona, posting a 2.43 ERA and 112/21 K/BB ratio while going 73-for-80 in save chances. The 35-year-old right-hander got off to a bit of a slow start this season, but he hasn’t allowed a run in 24 appearances dating back to mid-June.

Putz struggled through elbow issues in 2008 and 2009, but he’s currently on pace to make over 50 appearances for the third straight season. He made at least 54 appearances in four straight seasons from 2004-2007.

Imagining Theo Epstein in politics

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“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”

Or: “When Theo Epstein won World Series championships with the two most championship-starved franchises in baseball history, he got bored, and decided to run for the Senate or something.”

That latter bit is the premise of a Politico piece speculating that the Cubs president could go into politics one day. The story features an interview with former Obama chief strategist David Axlerod, who thinks Theo has what it takes. Mostly what he has is fame, popularity, good looks and money. No idea what his positions on issue are, but that other stuff goes a long way in politics these days.

Bonus: given what we just elected last fall, a guy who once had a little temper tantrum and dressed up in a gorilla suit is just as viable a candidate as anyone.

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

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When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.