Putz Out In New York

The J.J. Putz era in New York ended yesterday, as the Mets bought out the final year of Putz’s contract. With the last year at 8.6 million dollars and the closer position locked up by Francisco Rodriguez, it is a no-brainer for the Mets to pay the 1 million dollar buyout and avoid locking up a significant sum of money on a questionable set-up man.

How remarkably quickly it seems that one of the potential best 8th and 9th inning combos in baseball has been disassembled. While giving up a seven player package, including major league talent in the form of Aaron Heilman, Jason Vargas, Endy Chavez, and Joe Smith, for a small package centered around an expensive reliever appears to be wrong at a glance, due to the fungibility of those kinds of pitchers, this deal brought things to a whole new level.

To begin with, Putz spent much of 2008 on the DL and did not pitch like the 2 to 3 win relief talent that he showed in 2006 and 2007. Although his fastball velocity hadn’t dropped, something was clearly off with his stuff. His BB rate soared and his LD% rose by 3 points. His 3.78 FIP wasn’t terrible, but was only worth .6 wins in 46 innings pitched. All things considered, with the fungibility of relievers, Putz’s age (31 entering 2009) and an injury in 2008, chances were low that Putz would bring the Mets 13.6 million dollars in value in ’09 and ’10.

It hit the fan for Putz in 2009. His control problems persisted and his strikeout rate plummeted. Now, as a 32-year old-reliever running a 1.00 K/BB ratio, Putz hits the market again. He just screams reclamation project. It will be interesting to see what team bites.

From the Mets’ standpoint, they sunk 6 million dollars and 7 players into acquiring Putz, Jeremy Reed, and Sean Green. The trade has produced 0.1 WAR from Putz, -0.7 WAR Reed, and -.1 WAR from Green. Unless Reed and Green somehow become productive major leaguers, this trade will go down as historically bad for New York.

The Mets bullpen will likely be a focal point for the front office again this winter. We’ll find out if they’ve learned their lesson.




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27 Responses to “Putz Out In New York”

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  1. Michael says:

    Not only did this go historically bad for New York, it went historically well for Seattle. They dealt Putz and got Franklin Gutierrez under team control. Crazy how well this deal went.

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  2. B says:

    Yes! We can stop using the AJ Pierzynski deal as the benchmark for bad trades now!

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    • gnomez says:

      Nah – I still use the two St. Louis/Oakland deals combined as the ultimate benchmark – Mark Mulder and 2 months of Matt Holliday for Dan Haren, Brett Wallace, Kiko Calero, Daric Barton, Clayton Mortensen, and Shane Peterson.

      Ohter recent bad ones – Jair Jurrjens and Gorkys Hernandez for Edgar Renteria.

      That god-awful Montreal/Cleveland trade.

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      • joser says:

        Heathcliff Slocumb. Eric Bedard. The big sucking nothing they got back for Raphael Soriano, Shin Soo Choo, and the entire Indians middle infield. The Mariners have a lot of horses in the “historically bad trade” race; the Putz deal only starts to make up for some of them.

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  3. Mean Dean says:

    Jeez, how is this supposed to be “historically” bad, or as bad as trading Joe Nathan? The Mets didn’t give up anyone who was an impact player.

    Don’t get me wrong, it was a bad trade. But there’s a limit to how bad a trade can be when you didn’t lose anyone all that great. It is nowhere in the league of the trades of Nolan Ryan, Amos Otis, Ken Singleton, Jason Bay or Scott Kazmir… and that’s just one team’s history ;-)

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  4. BATTLETANK says:

    would be cool to see the phils pick up putz. if he turned out good then it would be the ultimate middle finger to the mets

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  5. Pete says:

    Historically bad? The Mets and Mariners traded each other a bunch of garbage. It’s not like the Mariners got Seaver or Kazmir. Besides, even if Putz pitched well, the Mets would never have picked up his option. Everyone seems to have forgotten that the Mets are in severe financial trouble. They haven’t spent any money after the Madoff scandal except for the half a million they gave to Sheffield. They dumped Wagner for a few bucks and every time they are linked to a high priced free agent, an inside source claims that they are not interested. Jeff straight-up lied to Francesa. There will be no Lackey or Holliday this season. Notice that they didn’t deny wanting Hermida and Wolf. Expect to fill C, 1B, LF, SP and RP holes with affordable lower tier options and for the Wilpons to sell a story about the injured players coming back stronger than ever, lol!

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    • Bill says:

      You might want to look at Gutierrez’s numbers real quick. I wish my team had garbage like that. Of course, he came from the Indians. They didn’t exactly make out in this trade either.

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      • Mean Dean says:

        It’s not fair to assume that the Mets could have gotten Gutierrez. The Mets didn’t have Valbuena to trade to Cleveland. I don’t see how you can hold one team responsible for whom the other two teams trade in a three-way trade.

        And yeah, I’d agree that if Valbuena doesn’t pan out, Cleveland actually came out worst in this trade, by virtue of giving up a legitimately difficult to replace player.

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      • Ezra says:

        On the other hand, the Indians have Sin-Soo Choo, a former Mariner, as a gift from the Bavasi administration (for Ben Broussard).

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    • Jim says:

      This is actually in reply to Ezra, but there’s no ‘reply’ button in his post for me to click on:

      It’s actually Shin-Soo Choo, and the Mariners gave up not only him, but also a PTBNL, who turned to be minor league pitcher Shawn “The Sheriff of” Nottingham. ;)

      And to Pete above: I’ve actually heard that the Mets didn’t lose any money at all in the Madoff scandal, but rather made money–about $48 million from at least one of their accounts with Madoff(true, there may have been other accounts in which they lost money that haven’t been reported on).

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  6. Steve says:

    don’t forget Carp. he has a non-zero chance to turn into something interesting.

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  7. Steve says:

    speaking of crappy Mets’ players, JJ Hardy to the Twins for Carlos Gomez

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  8. sabes says:

    You’re joking, right? Yeah, the Mets got the short end of the stick, but have you seen the players they gave up? Aaron Heilman, Jason Vargas, Endy Chavez, and Joe Smith? Out of those, Heilman is the only guy with a decent future.

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    • gnomez says:

      You’re forgetting Minaya’s man-crush on Endy Chavez – trust me, he’ll end up back as a Met.

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      • Adam W. says:

        Endy probably isn’t going anywhere. The M’s employ Tango as a consultant, and he has an unrivaled man-crush on Chavez.

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    • MPC says:

      Yeah, Endy Chavez and his 15.7 UZR/150 are worthless.

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    • joser says:

      Endy is a valuable guy… if he can run down balls in the outfield. He’s also probably out until the middle of next year with a bad leg injury, so it’s possible he can’t. And he’s a free agent, so who knows where he ends up. He may go unsigned until mid-season; he may take a cheap one-year rehab contract somewhere. But he’s not on any team’s opening day roster.

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  9. brian recca says:

    The Mets did also give up Mike Carp who could easily be their starting first baseman this upcoming season. Endy Chavez has value and Joe Smith/Aaron Heilman are as good/better than Sean Green.

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  10. AnnaJA says:

    Great idea, thanks for this post!

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