New Arizona Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers had one goal this offseason. That was to somehow improve the worst bullpen in baseball last season.

The Diamondbacks bullpen finished the 2010 season with a 5.74 ERA. That was a full run worse than the next worse bullpen. The Diamondbacks were rolling out “jabronis” such as Chad Qualls, Leo Rosales and Cesar Valdez.

Not only could the underbelly of the bullpen not get to the closer, but when they finally did, nobody could close games for them. Qualls was a clown show and Juan Gutierrez, who replaced Qualls, was no better.

Towers has done his best to get rid of these clowns and bring in fresh arms. The latest fresh arm Towers has brought in will be expected to close games with authority in 2011.

Towers and the Diamondbacks signed RHP J.J. Putz to a two-year, $10 million contract with an option for 2013. The option is for $6.5 million according to Ken Rosenthal.

This is a really good signing by the Diamondbacks.

After a disastrous 2009 season with the New York Mets where he battled injuries and the Mets medical staff, Putz had a bounce-back season with the Chicago White Sox. It was like Putz was back with the Seattle Mariners all over again.

Putz had a 2.83 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and a 10.8 K/9 in 54 innings. Putz was especially tough on right-handed batters last season. Righties hit .164 with just three extra-base hits in 120 plate appearances.

What made Putz so tough was the return of his split-fingered fastball. He threw more splitters last season (29.4 percent) than at any point in his career.

Not only was he throwing it a lot, but it was nasty. His 5.1 wSF was the fifth highest in the Major Leagues in 2010.

At 33, Putz appears to have a lot left in the tank and should be a solid signing for the Diamondbacks.


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