Late last night while everyone was watching the NFL playoffs (me included), Fox Sports Ken Rosenthal came out with his latest news and notes column. One interesting tidbit of information was at the end of it.
“Don’t be surprised if the Diamondbacks trade right-hander J.J. Putz following their addition of former White Sox closer Addison Reed. Putz is signed for $7 million in 2014, and the D-backs most likely would be required to accept a comparable salary in return.
Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, earning $6.5 million, could be one possibility, though it is not known whether Yankees ownership would part with Suzuki or how he would adjust to a backup role.”
Would that make sense for the New York Yankees? Let’s delve into it.
For starters, Putz would give the Yankees another arm in the bullpen, and one with closer experience, though he’s one in decline. His fastball last year dropped below 92 MPH to 91.7 according to Fangraphs. In fact, it’s dropped every year since 2010 when he was at 94 MPH. His strikeout percentage dropped from a shade over 29 percent to 27 percent last year, though his ground ball rate went up to 50 percent which would serve him well in Yankee Stadium. There are some injury concerns as well, as he only pitched 34 innings last season.
For the Diamondbacks, the fit would be a bit odd. They just added Mark Trumbo this season to play left. A.J. Pollock will be in center. Gerardo Parra will be in right, with Cody Ross coming back from injury during the season. The salaries are comparable so that won’t be a concern and both are expiring contracts.
For the Yankees to do this, they would have to believe that they can’t add Grant Balfour or Fernando Rodney in free agency. They also wouldn’t be able to trade Brett Gardner for a starter on top of this deal, because even if you move Alfonso Soriano to left, your DH becomes a hole, unless you go back into the free agent market, something I’m not sure the Yankees want to do.
It’s a nice thought, however, I can’t see this one going down.