Teams are no longer afraid of the big ol’ 1800 lb gorilla known as the Super Two status for young players. Therefore, you’re seeing an increase in players being released and designated for assignment. One player who was this past Friday was Arizona Diamondbacks’ reliever J.J. Putz? Should the Yankees take a chance on him?
Well, his numbers with Arizona were, well, not good. He was 1-1 with a 6.59 ERA. In 18 games, he pitched 13.2 innings, gave up 10 runs on 17 hits. He did strike out 14 in those innings.
Let’s take a look at velocity. Per Fangraphs, his fastball is down to 90 MPH. His two-seamer is down to 89 and his splitter is down to 88. His slider is also down from 85.5 last year to 84 this year.
Down velocity is not a good thing for a reliever. However, in looking at his numbers, two things stood out to me.
One, his BABIP is .400, so it seems like he’s pitching in a bit of bad luck that’s probably unsustainable. Secondly, he’s throwing his splitter a whopping 41% of the time, compared to 18% last season. He’s also only used his slider two percent of the time, compared to 15.5% last season.
That tells me that either something is wrong with his arm, or, he just doesn’t trust that pitch enough to effectively use it.
To me, if Putz and his $7 million is released, and if Putz will take a minor-league deal like Heath Bell, then why not? You can never have enough guys in the bullpen. If it’s a trade with Arizona footing most of the bill, I think I’d pass. I’d want to see Putz prove himself before giving him a 40-man roster spot.