Just when we thought the Arizona Diamondbacks were done on the trade front, the rumors start circulating again. The D’backs have had one of the busiest offseasons of any team in the Majors and the news keeps on coming. Late last night when pretty much every sports fan was watching the NFL wild card playoff games, myself included, Fox Sports MLB insider Ken Rosenthal came out with another possible trade involving the D’backs, this time involving reliever J.J Putz. After the Diamondbacks traded for Addison Reed, everybody started to speculate if the Snakes were finished with Putz as the closer of this team. He struggled on the mound and with his health last season didn’t look the same J.J. we saw in 2011 and 2012 when he saved 40 plus games for the team. While General Manager Kevin Towers told the media and the fans that there would be competition for the closer’s role in spring training, Reed only wants to pitch in the 9th inning and management knew that when they traded for him. After saving 40 games in 2013 for the Chicago White Sox, Reed will most certainly be the closer for this team in 2014. That leaves Putz taking the 7th or 8th role going into next year, at least we thought. Rosenthal in his latest column on Fox Sports.com speculated about the possibility of Putz being moved before the end of the offseason:
“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. Putz also could be part of a trade for a starter such as the Brewers’ Yovani Gallardo if the D-backs fall short in other pursuits.”
In my opinion trading Putz for Ichiro or Gallardo makes perfect sense for this team going forward. The D’backs have their apparent closer of the future in Reed and people forget that the D’backs have a lot of bullpen depth to fill either the 7th or 8th and be fine without J.J in the mix. Arizona has David Hernandez and if he can return to his 2011 and 2012 form the D’backs should be in great shape. If Hernandez continues to struggle which is always a possibility, then the team can look elsewhere. They have Will Harris, a young right-hander who emerged as one of the club’s best relievers last year going 4-1 with a 2.91 ERA in 61 appearances last season. Matt Reynolds who was the D’backs’ best reliever for the first month of last season before going out for the rest of the season with an injury will miss all of 2014 after undergoing Tommy John Surgery. Unfourtunatly he won’t be an option, but they still have a lot of young relievers waiting to make an impact at the Major League level. Matt Stites, Jake Barrett, Bo Schultz, and Marcos Mateo come to mind. Putz’s health is always a question mark after last season and with so much depth in the bullpen the D’backs can afford to loose him.
The Dbacks would be happy to add either Ichiro or Gallardo. The Diamondbacks are in need of a veteran outfielder that can provide pop off the bench and start from time to time and Ichiro would fit that role perfectly. He can still hit and K.T has said this offseason that upgrading the bench is a priority. Arizona is also in need of a starting pitcher to plug into the top of the rotation and Gallardo would fit that role. Gallardo has dominated the D’backs over the years and it would be nice to have him on our side. He has been a proven ace with the Brewers his whole career going 81-53 with a career 3.72 era in 7 years in the Bigs. If the Tanaka front doesn’t work out and Arizona is unable to sign free agents like Garza, Ubaldo, or Santana, Gallardo would be a viable option. This move has a whole lot of upside and with the depth in the bullpen that the D’backs have I wouldn’t mind getting rid of Putz. What do you guys think?