As expected, the Mets have declined their $8.6 million option on J.J. Putz for 2010by exercising a $1 million buyout. Putz posted a 5.22 ERA and 1.64 WHIP in just 29 games before undergoing right elbow surgery in June. He was shut down for good after suffering a strained right forearm during a rehab assignment in August.
Omar Minaya made upgrading the bullpen his top priority last winter, first inking Francisco Rodriguez to a three-year, $37 million contract in December, then swiftly dealing for Putz, Sean Green and Jeremy Reed. Minaya waslauded at the time, but Putz looked like damaged goods from the start, losing almost two MPH on his fastball while averaging a career-high 5.83 BB/9. While Rodriguez’s 3.71 ERA and 1.31 WHIP (both career-highs) were just a minor blip on the Mets’ disaster in 2009, his 6.75 ERA after the All-Star break is troublesome.
According to his agent Craig Landis,Putz hasn’t ruled out a return to New York on an incentive-laden contract, but he can’t be expected to be a top-notch set-up man coming off elbow surgery. While a return is possible, look for the Mets attempt to sign a right-hander of Kiko Calero’s ilk to use in tandem with left-hander Pedro Feliciano. Putz could be make for a nice reclamation project for a number of teams (Phillies?).In other news, the Mets announced that they have picked up Mike Pelfrey’s $500,000 optionfor 2010.