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Winter Meetings Retrospective: JJ Putz Trade

My Fellow Sufferers:

While it would be easy to cheer wildly after last night's trade, one cannot truly judge the value of the trade itself before taking a look at J.J. Putz's 2008 statistics.

While Putz lost his closer's job in 2008 and started out that campaign very poorly, a closer look at his game log might restore some confidence in those who are looking at this trade with the glass half full.

Yes, Mr. Putz had an ERA over 5.00 (5.04 to be exact) by July 31st. By this point he had spent a month on the DL with a strained elbow and a hip injury. His overall ERA for the season was a pedestrian 3.88. Joe Smith, who was sent to Cleveland in this trade, had a lower ERA than that at 3.55. If ERA really tells the story about a pitcher's season, then these stats simply state that Joe Smith had a better season than J.J. Putz, right? So why are all these Mets fans giddy about this trade? A more in-depth look at Putz's season tells a different story.

While Putz had a lackluster season through July, he finished very strongly. Over the month of August he pitched 13 1/3 innings to a 2.70 ERA over 13 appearences while allowing 9 walks and striking out 14. The walk total might be a little high but that certainly was a huge month for the former Mariner's closer.

He got even better in September. In the last month of the season Putz pitched 8 innings over 8 appearences to a 2.25 ERA. He also walked 2 and struck out 13 while converting 5 out ot 5 save opportunities. Needless to say, Putz certainly regained his form in the last two months of the season.

Factor in the excellence of his 2007 and 2006 campaigns where he pitched to a 1.38 and 2.30 ERA, respectively, and you have yourself a pitcher that has put together a pretty good career over the last three seasons. With this in mind, it is safe to celebrate this acquisition and hopefully the much beleaguered Met bullpen will close more games than it gave up over the past two years.

Mets Blog Writer: Konrad Krawczyk

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