Yankees Rumors: New York could target J.J. Putz

USA TODAY Sports

Heading into January, the Yankees are mostly set with big acquisitions. They will attempt to sign Masahiro Tanaka, but they could also make little moves like signing Mark Reynolds to play third base. Two other small moves Brian Cashman still has to make is adding another reliever and getting rid of at least one outfielder. Right now the Yankees have six outfielders, and they need to move some of them in order to create space on the 40-man roster for other players at more useful positions. If the Yankees sign Tanaka then they won't have to trade Brett Gardner for a starter. Instead they could try to flip Ichiro Suzuki for J.J. Putz.

Ken Rosenthal believes that the Diamondbacks could try to trade Putz now that they have acquired Addison Reed from the White Sox. The 37-year-old right-handed reliever is due $7 million in 2014, so trading him for a player with a comparable salary could make sense. After trading away Adam Eaton, Arizona might like another outfielder. With Ichiro making $6.5 million this year, the two teams could trade their hefty contracts to one another to gain something each needs.

As we all know, Ichiro was one of the worst hitters in major league baseball last season, hitting .262/.297/.342, but that doesn't mean he's without value. If he were on the 2013 Diamondbacks, he would have led the team with 20 stolen bases. He would essentially be the fifth outfielder for them, but Ichiro would excel as a pinch runner, late-inning defensive replacement, and pinch hitter. Each some of Ichiro's contract and he look even better.

The Yankees would be acquiring the 20th best reliever in baseball over the last three seasons, according to WAR (3.2). Unfortunately, Putz had a less than stellar 2013 campaign (0.1), where he was done in by rising walk and home run rates. If he can return to his 2011-2012 rates (1.5/1.6), he could be as valuable in the Yankee bullpen as Mariano Rivera (1.5) and David Robertson (1.6) were in 2013.

This could be the last we hear about such a move, but we'll just have to wait and see. A deal like this doesn't have to happen any time soon.

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