Cubs, others interested in J.J. Putz

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One of the reasons a guy like Rafael Soriano accepted arbitration is that there are just loads of relievers floating around this winter.  Maybe not many as good as he is, but certainly some far cheaper and worth a flier.

For example, there’s J.J. Putz, who could be a great bargain/reclamation pickup for someone.  Those someones who might be interested: the Cubs, White Sox, Diamondbacks, Rangers, Nationals and Tigers.

Would I turn over the ninth inning to the guy if I were running a team? Nah. But Putz could be an extremely useful part of a bullpen for any team that doesn’t want to spend a lot on a bullpen. Which is any team except the Braves, it seems. 

Cardinals shut down Carlos Martínez for two weeks due to shoulder issue

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.

Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”

Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.

Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.