On the same day they signed RHP Erasmo Ramirez to a minor league deal, the Red Sox made another minor move on Tuesday, as they signed former White Sox reliever Zach Putnam to a minor league contract as well, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo. It is not clear if this deal includes a Major League invitation to spring training at the time this is being written.
Putnam, 31, missed the entire 2018 season after undergoing Tommy John Surgery while with Chicago in early 2017.
A former fifth round draft pick of the Cleveland Indians back in 2008, Putnam provided the White Sox with stability out of the bullpen over the course of his four-year tenure with the club.
In 139.1 innings of relief from 2014 to 2017, the right-hander posted a 2.71 ERA and 1.18 WHIP to go along with a solid 9.6 K/9 ratio.
A native of Michigan, Putnam also, “posted a gaudy 16.1 percent swinging-strike rate,” and limited hard contact to the tune of an 27.2 opponents’ hard-hit rate in his time on the South Side, according to MLBTradeRumors.com
Given the circumstances, I would say this move has the makings to be a low risk-high reward signing for Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox.
According to FanGraphs, Putnam was the 48th best reliever in the American League in terms of fWAR (1.6) from 2014 to 2017.
I understand that he is older now than he was in that span and is coming off major shoulder surgery, but it would not be a surprise to me at all that come June or July, Putnam is up and contributing to the Red Sox’ cause out of the bullpen.