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.
Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area hints that the Giants may be done with outfielder Hunter Pence. It’s not clear just how seriously the club is contemplating such a decision, but there are six days remaining on Pence’s rehab assignment, at which point they’ll be able to recall him, reassign him to the minors or release him.
The 35-year-old outfielder has struggled to make a full recovery after spraining his right thumb during the first week of the season. Pence bounced back for a 17-game run with the Giants in April, during which he slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 with one double and one stolen base in 61 plate appearances, but was eventually placed on the disabled list with recurring soreness in his finger. He currently sports a promising .318/.359/.388 batting line with four extra-base hits (including a grand slam) over 92 PA in Triple-A Sacramento.
Despite his recent resurgence in Triple-A, the Giants may not need the additional outfield depth just yet. Mac Williamson, who was recalled in the wake of Pence’s DL assignment, has already cemented the starting role in left field and is off to a strong start at the plate as well. Of course, if the Giants decide to say a premature goodbye to their veteran outfielder (who, it should be said, helped them to two World Series championships over the last seven seasons), it’ll cost them the remaining balance on his $18.5 million salary for 2018.