As expected, the Diamondbacks announced today that they have exercised the $6.5 million club option on J.J. Putz’s contract for next season.
This was a pretty easy call for the Diamondbacks, as Putz has proved to be an excellent bargain for the club so far. Putz, who turns 36 in February, has earned $8.5 million over the past two seasons while posting a 2.48 ERA and 126/23 K/BB ratio over 112 1/3 innings. He is 77-for-86 in save opportunities during that timespan.
Putz’s career was at a crossroads after an elbow injury limited him to 29 appearances with the Mets in 2009, but he has made 57 or more appearances in each of the last three seasons.
While Putz will be in the fold for 2013, Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers is open to the idea of keeping him long-term. According to Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona, Towers said today that he hopes to talk to Putz soon about a possible contract extension which would allow him to finish his career with Arizona.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.