J.J. Putz was the Arizona Diamondbacks’ closer in 2011 and 2012, when he saved 77 games and had an ERA of 2.48.
However, a poor start to the 2013 along with injury problems led to Putz losing his hold on the ninth-inning job, and while he finished the season strong, he did so as Brad Ziegler was finishing games for the team.
Healthy once again, Putz, who will be 37 on Opening Day, is battling for the job he once held, though he’s probably the underdog now that the team went out and traded for former White Sox closer Addison Reed.
While it would make sense for Putz to be upset over the team possibly trying to move on from him in going out and adding Reed, the veteran did not take the move personally.
In fact, he reached out to Reed when the deal was made to offer support.
“It’s never easy when you’re traded,” Putz told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Wednesday, recounting how David Wright welcomed him to the Mets when he was traded to New York in 2009. “I know how hard it is when you get traded, and I just felt like my position with this team is to kind of get everybody together. I just thought it was the right thing to do.
“I think we’re a better team with him here, so open arms.”
Reed was Chicago’s closer the last two seasons, saving a total of 69 games. He recorded 40 of them last year, and it’s hard to believe the D-backs acquired the 25-year-old with the idea that he’d be a setup man. But GM Kevin Towers has said there will be a battle for the closer’s job, with Putz and Reed being two of the main contenders.
And while he’d like to be the one to get the job, Putz said it would not be devastating should he not.
“Obviously that’s what I love doing, but I’m also missing something on this finger right here,” he said, pointing to the lack of a World Series championship ring. “So if that’s pitching in the seventh, eighth, ninth — whatever Gibby decides — and that puts a ring on this finger, I’ll do whatever.”