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D-backs could fix ‘pen by finding a new closer


J.J. Putz has helped Diamondbacks fans forget about Brandon Lyon, Chad Qualls and Juan Gutierrez.

With 21 saves and a 3.12 ERA this season, he has been a big factor in the team’s surprising play. Still, the D-backs find themselves looking for bullpen help, and Sports 620 KTAR’s Doug Franz has the solution to the D-backs’ middle relief issues.

“Isn’t there a way that you can fill the role of middle reliever, with all the respect to J.J.,” he said on the Doug and Wolf show Thursday, “go for the gusto, go after Heath Bell.

“I would love to see Heath Bell come over here, J.J.’s got the eighth, you’ve got [David] Hernandez in the seventh, and now I’ve just helped middle relief.”

True, that would make the D-backs’ pen seemingly unstoppable. Games would essentially be six innings long, because if you didn’t have the lead by then you probably weren’t ever going to. But removing Putz, who has struggled some due to injury but should be healthy soon from the closer’s role? That’s a different proposition altogether.

But, as Franz acknowledged, acquiring Bell could be a long shot anyway. One of the game’s best closers, he has 26 saves and an ERA of 2.43 so he’d cost a pretty penny on skill alone. Add in the fact that the Padres and D-backs are division rivals and the price will go up even more.

For now it would seem Putz’s job as closer is safe, so long as he stays healthy and effective. But with the D-backs looking to deal, specifically for bullpen help, the next move could not only push the D-backs over the top, but Putz out of the closer’s spot.

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