Updated Feb 10, 2014 - 4:28 pm
D-backs GM Towers: J.J. Putz, Addison Reed to battle for closer job
In 2013, he locked down 40 games for the Sox, posting a 3.79 ERA while striking out 72 in 71.1 innings pitched.
Is he the team's new closer? At the very least, he's expected to help take care of what was a really sore spot for the D-backs in 2013.
"We certainly had a rough time at the back end of games; some of it had to do with health, J.J. (Putz) missed quite a bit of time," D-backs GM Kevin Towers told Doug and Wolf during their annual Newsmakers Week on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Monday. "Our bullpen, specifically the ninth, was so spotty. There would be streaks where we were very, very good and we were very, very bad. There was no in between."
D-backs relievers posted the 16th-best ERA in all of baseball at 3.52, but were tied with the Astros for the league lead with 29 blown saves, too.
Perhaps no one epitomized the bullpen's inconsistency quite like Heath Bell, who led the team with 15 saves but also blew seven chances and finished with an ERA of 4.11.
He's since been traded, though, and Towers is confident in the group of relievers the team currently has.
"Getting Addison, he's young, really starting to come into his prime," Towers added. "Forty saves for a ball club there in Chicago that wasn't real strong last year."
Towers said he's been high on Reed since watching him pitch at San Diego State, where he helped close out games for Nationals star Stephen Strasburg.
"There were certain nights where his stuff was as good as Strasburg's," Towers said. "We're excited to have him; he gives us more depth."
Adding Reed also changes others' roles, including the likely move of Brad Ziegler back to a setup position. Last year, the veteran filled in admirably as the closer, finishing the season with 13 saves and an ERA of 2.22, but Towers said the preference would be to have the submarine-thrower in a role that sees him come into the games a bit earlier than the ninth inning.
"Where a lot of times games are decided, where you need that big groundball double play," he said. "He did a great job for us in the ninth, but we didn't really have that guy, that experienced guy in the seventh."
But, Towers said, that does not mean the closer job belongs to Reed. Though he may have been acquired with the idea that he'll assume the role, the 25-year-old is going to have to earn it.
After all, Putz has essentially been the team's closer the last three years, tallying 83 saves in the process. Last season, though, he struggled with injuries and ineffectiveness at times, but rallied to finish the season with six saves and a 2.36 ERA in 34.1 innings. He struck out 38.
"I'm looking forward to the battle," Towers said. "I know when we picked him up, J.J. asked, 'Is this my job,' and I said, 'No, you guys are going to compete.'"
The GM said he told Putz that he believes the competition between a tested veteran like Putz and a young, up-and-coming pitcher like Reed will benefit everyone.
"I know that they get along well, but I'm looking forward to them out in the spring figuring out who's going to be the guy."
Adam Green, Web Content Editor - ArizonaSports.com
Schedule for the week
Dave Tippett and Lon Babby are in-studio on Tuesday for Newsmakers Week.
- Doug & Wolf's Newsmakers Week recap: Friday and the full week
- Greg Byrne: Newsmakers Week with Doug & Wolf
- Steve Keim: Newsmakers Week with Doug & Wolf part two
- Steve Keim: Newsmakers Week with Doug & Wolf part one
- Doug & Wolf's Newsmakers Week Recap: Thursday
- Herb Sendek: Newsmakers Week with Doug & Wolf Part Two
- Herb Sendek: Newsmakers Week with Doug & Wolf Part One
- Derrick Hall: Newsmakers Week with Doug & Wolf Part Three
- Derrick Hall: Newsmakers Week with Doug & Wolf Part Two
- Derrick Hall: Newsmakers Week with Doug & Wolf Part One
- Doug & Wolf's Newsmakers Week Recap: Wednesday
- Jerry Colangelo: Newsmakers Week with Doug & Wolf Part Four
- Jerry Colangelo: Newsmakers Week with Doug & Wolf Part Three
- Jerry Colangelo: Newsmakers Week with Doug & Wolf Part Two
- Jerry Colangelo: Newsmakers Week with Doug & Wolf Part One
- Doug & Wolf's Newsmakers Week Recap: Tuesday
- Lon Babby - Newsmakers Week with Doug & Wolf Part Two
- Lon Babby - Newsmakers Week with Doug & Wolf Part One
- Dave Tippett - Newsmakers Week with Doug & Wolf Part Two
- Dave Tippett - Newsmakers Week with Doug & Wolf Part One
- Doug & Wolf's Newsmakers Week recap: Monday
- Jeff Hornacek - Newsmakers Week with Doug & Wolf Part Two
- Jeff Hornacek - Newsmakers Week with Doug & Wolf Part One
- Kevin Towers - Newsmakers Week with Doug & Wolf Part Four
- Kevin Towers - Newsmakers Week with Doug & Wolf Part Three
- Kevin Towers - Newsmakers Week with Doug & Wolf Part Two
- Kevin Towers - Newsmakers Week with Doug & Wolf Part One
- Bryan Sperber, PIR President - Friday February 14PIR president Bryan Sperber closes out Newsmakers Week with Doug and Wolf.
- Greg Byrne, UA Athletic Director - Friday February 14Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne sits in on Newsmakers Week.
- Steve Keim, Arizona Cardinals GM - Friday February 14Cardinals GM Steve Keim joins Newsmakers Week.
- Kevin Guy, Arizona Rattlers Head Coach - Thursday February 13What should the NFL implement from arena football?
- Herb Sendek, Head Coach ASU Basketball - Thursday February 13Can ASU make the tournament in March?
- Derrick Hall, D-backs President and CEO - Thursday February 13When does Derrick Hall think things will heat up with the Dodgers?
- Brian Mueller, GCU President - Thursday February 13Brian Mueller explains what attracts athletes to GCU.
- Jim Pitman, Mercury General Manager - Thursday February 13How do things look on the business side of the Mercury organization?
- Ray Anderson, ASU Athletic Director - Wednesday February 12Ray Anderson explains why he took the job at ASU.
- Jason Rowley, Suns President - Wednesday February 12Where are the Suns trending financially?
- Jerry Colangelo, Godfather of Phoenix Sports - Wednesday February 12Jerry Colangelo comes in studio for an entire hour!
- Dan Majerle, Head Coach GCU Basketball - Wednesday February 12Dan Majerle explains the recruiting process.
- David Rousseau, AZ Super Bowl Host Committee Chairman - Tuesday February 11Find out how Glendale is preparing right now to host next year's Super Bowl.
- Lon Babby, Suns President of Operations - Tuesday February 11Eric Bledsoe's future with the team and the relationship between the Suns and Dan Majerle.
- Dave Tippett, Coyotes head coach - Tuesday February 11Dave spends his Olympic break with us in studio to discuss the playoff race his team is in.
- Tim Esmay, ASU baseball coach - Tuesday February 11Tim describes the competitive nature in recruiting high school athletes.
- Tom King, 2014 Waste Managment Phoenix Open Chairman - Tuesday February 11Tom explains how the Phoenix Open continues to be a huge success year after year.
- Charli Turner Thorne, ASU Women's basketball head coach - Monday February 10How is the women's basketball program at ASU doing?
- Kevin Towers, D-backs GM - Monday February 10The D-backs made moves on the mound
- Jeff Hornacek, Suns Head Coach - Monday February 10Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek joins Doug and Wolf during Newsmakers Week.
- Keith Baker, GCU Athletic Director - Monday February 10How long until GCU can make the NCAA tournament?
- George Gosbee Phoenix Coyotes Co-Owner - Monday February 10Live update from the Sochi Winter Olympics.
Doug & Wolf's Newsmakers Week
D&W talk to all the top decision makers in Arizona sports.