“He’s a good guy in the clubhouse”. How many times have we read, heard, written or spoken that phrase about a player in any sport? We use it based on information we have received from”sources” who are much closer to the clubhouse or locker room than we will ever hope to get. Such a fellow is J.J. Putz and Jack Magruder from foxsportsarizona decided to write a nice piece on what exactly that means with regards to the Arizona Diamondbacks’ veteran reliever.
From reading the story, which you can do by clicking here, it is clear that D’backs’ players and management respect Putz immensely. It shows that his value goes beyond the diamond. One thing that struck me was that 20 minutes after the team traded for Addison Reed, Putz texted a welcoming message to his newest teammate. It shows you what a man he is, greeting someone who may very well take his job so warmly and without hesitation or prompting. While J.J. indicated he would be disappointed if he wasn’t the closer, he also stated it would be because he didn’t do enough in Spring Training to earn the job. We also find out that it was Putz who helped organize the team’s paintball outing earlier in the month.With baseball beginning in February and finishing in late September at the earliest, it is important to have a good vibe in the clubhouse. Putz is the guy that sets the tone and everyone, particularly the ones in the bullpen, seem to feed off of that. While Brad Ziegler did not mention his teammate by name, he did point out how important clubhouse chemistry is:
"“It annoys me when people think that clubhouse culture does not affect your results on the field,” right-hander Brad Ziegler said. “I’ve seen articles about that, and it is an absolute joke. You can tell those people have never been in a clubhouse in their life. There is so much more to it. The clubhouse atmosphere is vital to success.”"
J.J. Putz is a free agent at the end of the season. If he pitches successfully and has no intention of retiring, I am willing to bet the D’backs bring him back for at least one more year. After all, you can’t put a dollar value on a happy workplace and the organization realizes that J.J. sets the tone in theirs.