As expected none of the other 29 teams wanted anything to do with J.J. Putz’s contract on the waiver wire, so the Diamondbacks have released him after designating the veteran reliever for assignment last week.
Putz posted a sub-3.00 ERA with big strikeout rates every season from 2010-2013, but he’s always had difficulty staying healthy and this season he struggled while also missing time with forearm problems at age 37.
Arizona is on the hook for his entire $7 million salary, so it seems likely that several contending teams will be interested in Putz now that he’s available for the minimum salary or perhaps even a minor-league deal.
Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.
When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.
Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.