Back in October, I blogged extensively on several rumors that had the Mets hotly pursuing Seattle Mariners closer, J.J. Putz. Those rumors died down in November when it became apparent that the mariners’ asking price was extraordinarily high.
As I’ve mentioned time and time again, I have a strong sense that the Mets would rather trade for a closer rather than cave into the demands of Francisco Rodriguez or Brian Fuentes.
Even though, both Fuentes and Rodriguez have lowered their initial demands which ranged between $12 – $15 million per season, the Mets still would rather trade for a closer that would cost them half that much.
The reason for that is because they are still irked about being on the hook for Billy Wagner’s $11 million dollar salary this season which they must still pay.
Joel Sherman of the NY Post has learned, that the Mariners have made J.J. Putz available once again.
The Mets plan on speaking to Seattle officials at the Winter Meetings, but they will have plenty of competition as many clubs are interested in Putz, such as the Indians. Putz is due $5 million in 2009 with an $8.6 million option in 2010 or a $1 million buyout. So he has the combination of cost certainty and a quality arm.
The Mets like Putz as much – or possibly more – than any of the available free-agent closers. That led one AL official to ask “If the Mets trade for Putz, then K-Rod and Fuentes are really in trouble. Where are they going to get the big money then?
You can obviously see why Putz is so attractive to the Mets. As for myself, I have always liked Putz, and if trading for him would clear up more money to bring in a higher end starting pitcher, then I am all for it.