Finally cleared of a nagging bone spur in his throwing elbow, 2007 MVP/AS closer RHP J.J. Putz has accepted a 1-year $3 million deal to come to the South Side. The contract incentives promise an additional $3 mil for finished games, which can’t sit well with incumbent closer and carbohydrate enthusiast Bobby Jenks.
Putz is 23-19 with a 3.24 ERA, 103 saves and 356 strikeouts covering 337 career relief appearances. Stepping into the setup role left open by Octavio Dotel, Putz, along with longtime friend Matt Thornton figures to give Ozzie plenty of options for lead protection, freeing up Scott Linebrink for exclusive work turning trailing games into blowouts. Spake Kenny Williams:
“Obviously, Bobby [Jenks] is the closer, and then we have Matt Thornton, who can do a little bit of both, and now you have J.J. who also can do that, and everyone else fills in behind them,” Williams said. “With the starters we have, starting in the sixth or seventh inning through the ninth, we have guys who can close games out.
“From the top of the rotation now through the end of the bullpen, we are as strong as we’ve ever been,” Williams said.
Jenks, who saw his full-season save percentage hit a career-low 83% in 2009 last found himself in these pages as the subject of Ozzie’s not-veiled-at-all musings concerning weight loss. With so much closing talent in the pen, Jenks should be wary that the next time he enjoys the delicious aroma of roast goose it isn’t his own.