Diamondbacks all but certain to exercise J.J. Putz’s option

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During an online chat with Diamondbacks fans yesterday team president Derrick Hall answered a question about closer J.J. Putz by saying that “it is hard to imagine us not” exercising his $6.5 million option for 2013.

Arizona has the choice of buying out Putz for $1.5 million instead, but he was as effective as ever with a 2.82 ERA and 65/11 K/BB ratio in 54 innings.

Putz has a lengthy injury history and at age 36 giving him a long-term deal would be very risky, but for a one-year commitment at a reasonable price it should be pretty close to a no-brainer for the Diamondbacks.

Jharel Cotton to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Athletics right-hander Jharel Cotton will undergo Tommy John surgery, per an announcement on Saturday. Cotton initially experienced some elbow soreness during a Cactus League start earlier this week and was officially diagnosed with a strained ulnar collateral ligament and strained flexor muscle on Thursday. He’ll be out of commission until 2019 at the earliest.

This isn’t the first time Cotton has dealt with elbow issues. According to MLB.com’s Jane Lee, he had screws inserted in his right elbow after sustaining a stress fracture in 2013 and suffered some minor elbow discomfort again last fall. Prior to his diagnosis, the 26-year-old was poised for his third run with the A’s in 2018. He pitched his first full season with the club in 2017, turning in a 5.58 ERA, 3.7 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 in 24 starts and 129 innings.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle adds that the team is open to adding pitching depth this spring, though they’ll wait to see if the price goes down on some free agents first. Barring that, right-handed long reliever Andrew Triggs could be tabbed to fill the fifth spot in the rotation.