Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times is reporting that the Mariners have just traded closer J.J. Putz, outfielder Jeremy Reed, and reliever Sean Green in a three-team deal centered around Indians outfielder Franklin Gutierrez.
The Mariners will also receive outfielder Endy Chavez and pitcher Aaron Heilman from the Mets, as well as four minor league prospects. The big name of the four prospects is Class AA first baseman Mike Carp of the Mets system.
Interesting trade as Baker had previously mentioned the Cardinals and Tigers as possible destinations for JJ, but now Putz heads to the Mets who just signed closer Francisco Rodriguez yesterday. I guess this makes Putz one of the premiere setup men in the game then.
The departure of Reed comes as no surprise as the Mariners have been looking to deal him for years. Green is interesting, however, as he could have been a potential replacement for Putz in the now-vacant closer role. The M’s also sent minor league second baseman Luis Valbuena to the Indians.
From a return standpoint, the M’s get back an eclectic group of players. The big name here is Gutierrez, a 26-year-old former top prospect of Cleveland who spent all of last season struggling to stay afloat in the big leagues. His minor league numbers were impressive, however, and he was at one time projected to be a future superstar when he reached the bigs. With his rookie season out of the way, we’ll see how Gutierrez adjusts in year two.
Heilman and Chavez are two big-league veterans that are nothing more than stopgaps. Chavez is a fourth outfielder at best and features speed and defense, but has no arm and isn’t much of a hitter. Heilman demanded a trade earlier in the offseason after being informed that his future with the club was as a reliever. Heilman has excelled as a setup man for the Mets, but has been mediocre as a starter. He probably can’t crack the M’s rotation as they already have about ten guys vying for five spots next season. However, if the Mariners want to make a statement and send Carlos Silva or Jarrod Washburn to the bullpen, then that may open up a starting spot for Heilman.
Mike Carp and the Pips, aka the other three minor leaguers in this deal, are relatively unknown, though Carp is a supposed power hitter who has put up good numbers in the low minors.
Obviously a trade based on the future, and a bit of a gamble by going after a guy like Franklin Gutierrez. Overall though, the Mariners did need to deal Putz, since a losing team has little use for a closer, and moving Reed was good as well. The only negative is the loss of Green, who has improved each year he’s been with the club and should do well pitching in the National League. More to come as we know it.