What Will Mets Do With J.J. Putz?

An article by posted on May 6, 2009

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports raises an interesting dilemma that will face the Mets next season when they decide how to handle the 2010 option on J.J. Putz,

He writes,

The Mets eventually will face an interesting decision on right-hander J.J. Putz, whom they can retain for 2010 by exercising his $9.1 million option.

That’s a high price for a setup man, though the Mets might be willing to pay it for one year. They also could seek to sign Putz to an extension, or trade him to a team in need of a closer during the off- season. The free-agent market for closers will be thin.

First of all the Mets will not exercise that option. They will not spend almost $10 million dollars on a setup man, that would be insane and the Mets could use that money more wisely elsewhere.

The Mets are already gritting their teeth about having to stick Oliver Perez (12 MM) in the bullpen, a bullpen that is now paying Billy Wagner (10.5 MM), Scott Schoeneweis (1.6 MM), K-Rod (12 MM), Brian Stokes (.4 MM), Sean Green (.5 MM), J.J. Putz (5 MM), Pedro Feliciano (1.6 MM), Duaner Sanchez (.4 MM), Bobby Parnell (.4 MM) and Tim Redding (2.25 MM). 

All told, that adds up to a bullpen that is costing the Mets $46.6 million dollars in 2009. That’s more than the entire payroll of the Florida Marlins or the San Diego Padres.

Unless the Mets trade Putz before the deadline, they will have nothing to show for him after the season.

When the Mets made that 3 team blockbuster deal, they gave up:

RHP Aaron Heilman – 4.50 ERA, 12 IP, 9 K, 10 H, 8 BB (ML)
RHP Joe Smith – 7.11 ERA, 6.1 IP, 6 K, 7 H, 5 BB (ML)
CF Endy Chavez – 92 AB, .293 AVG, 11 RS, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 5 SB, .365 OBP (ML) 
1B Mike Carp – 89 AB, 6 HR, 16 RBI, 19 RS, .326 AVG, .413 OBP, 1.043 OPS (AAA) 
RHP Maikel Cleto (short season)
LHP Jason Vargas – 2.29 ERA, 24 IP, 26 K, 8 BB, 1.01 WHIP, 2-1 W/L (AAA & ML) 
CF Ezekiel Carrera – 84 AB, .357 Avg, .491 OBP, .931 OPS, 24 RS, 6 SB (AA)  

The Mets also got Sean Green and Jeremy Reed in the deal. Mike Carp is having yet another standout season in AAA by the way, and I’m sure we’ll see him in the Majors soon enough. Jason Vargas has already been called up by the M’s and is off to a great start. Endy Chavez is playing everyday for the M’s.

I’m thinking that the Mets should continue to groom Bobby Parnell as a setup man, and trade Putz at the deadline. So far, Parnell has made some great strides acting as the Mets 7th inning reliever and exceeding expectations. Transformed from a starter to a reliever, the young righty has adjusted well and doesn’t seem to let the pressure get to him when he comes into the game with runners on base.

The Mets might also be tempted to use Brian Stokes in the setup role, or simply wait for Billy Wagner who is expected back by August.

Which ever way the Mets wish to play it doesn’t really matter. The point is that the Mets have some solid options now for the setup role that they didn’t have at the end of last season.

We should have something more to show for all the players we gave up besides a utility outfielder in Reed and a back of the bullpen guy in Green.

Trading Putz to a team that needs a closer may also get us a setup man in return, or maybe some solid major league ready prospects preferably a starting pitcher, catcher, second baseman or first baseman with power to replace Delgado in 2010.

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I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.

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