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December 10, 2008 at 6:26 PM

Mariners close to trading Putz

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Just got done talking to Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik, who said the majority of intensified trade talks he had today centered around closer J.J. Putz. We know the Mariners have spoken to the St. Louis Cardinals about a Rick Ankiel trade and with the Tigers about a deal for Matt Joyce and Jeff Larish.
And now, the halls are reverberating with rumors of a three-way deal with the Mets and Cleveland Indians that would send Indians right fielder Franklin Gutierez to Seattle, along with Mets reliever Aaron Heilman and first base prospect Mike Carp, with Putz and Luis Valbuena going the other way. Gutierez is considered a very strong defender, who has very good minor league numbers. His major league totals have been awful-looking, but he’s only 26 and posted an .872 OPS at Class AAA in 2007 before his promotion to the majors.
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Once there, he helped the Indians with their playoff push, taking over the everyday job from an injured Trot Nixon. Last season, he was handed the starting job in right field and — as first-year players typically do — struggled to handle the assignment. But obviously, if this holds up, Zduriencik sees him as being something big. He’s cost containable for another five years. And from what I’m told, he projects as a starting outfielder, not a fourth outfielder, as some have said about the Tigers’ Joyce.
As for Carp, 22, he had an .874 OPS, including a .404 on-base percentage, in AA last season, while hitting 17 home runs in 478 at-bats.
Again, this is what’s out there.
Zduriencik wouldn’t tip his hand about which team is closer. But he expects to have an answer, possibly by tonight or tomorrow, about whether a deal has been accepted.
Photo Credit: AP

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