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.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.