Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE
Something of a surprise, given the team exercised the 2013 option only a couple of months ago, but he has been the lynch-pin of the resurrection which the D-backs bullpen had undergone in the past two seasons. [H/T GuruB]
Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) January 14, 2013
The cost is reported to be $7 million for the season, which is in line with the $6.5m option which was exercised. In terms of WAR, it probably counts as an overpay, but I think there's a psychological value to having a good, reliable closer, that is not necessarily reflected in such metrics. In 117 appearances for the Diamondbacks, Putz has put up an excellent 2.48 ERA, with 126 strikeouts in 112.1 innings, compared to only 23 walks. His 77 saves rank second all-time for Arizona, and with a half-decent season in 2013, he should likely overtake the all-time leader, Jose Valverde, who had 98 over his time in the desert.
Said general manager, Kevin Towers, "J.J. has provided much-needed leadership and stability for our bullpen the last two years. He has been an integral piece and helped set the foundation for our bullpen’s turnaround so we are excited to have him in place the next two seasons." Putz seemed just as pleased with the deal: "I’m very happy to be a member of the great D-backs organization and family though 2014. It’s special to be with my family year round so we’re all really excited."
We'll have more detailed analysis of the move tomorrow, but the obvious "loser" in the deal is David Hernandez, who was likely to inherit the 2014 closer's spot, if Putz wasn't around. It seems likely he'll remain in the set-up role for the Diamondbacks.