Cubs add RHP Zach Putnam

The Cubs continue to try and pick up arms in anyway possible and the latest waiver claim is 25 year old RHP Zach Putnam, who pitched for the Colorado Rockies last season. Putnam is a 6'1", 225 lbs. reliever with a strong, athletic build but who has trouble repeating his delivery, which as you know, can affect command.  The stuff is there as Putnam can reach 95 mph but more often sits in the 90-92 mph range.  Ironically, most of Putnam's struggles through most of his careers have come vs. RH batters as he's been able to neutralize LH hitters with a good splitter.

Putnam's long term success ranges on two things, fine-tuning his command and tweaking his slider and turn it into an out pitch vs. RH batters.  It's going to be a tall task for Chris Bosio, but Putnam has the starting kit the Cubs like -- good athleticism and a strong arm.  And while Putnam doesn't have ideal command right now he does have decent control, walking an average of 2.9 batters per 9 IP while striking out 8.2 batters/9 IP in his career.

His best year was 2011 for the Indians AAA affiliate Columbus when he struck out 8.87 batters per inning and put up a 3.65 ERA (3.40 FIP).  He walked 3 batters per 9 innings.  Last year he pitched for the Rockies AAA team and finished with a 4.15 ERA then pitched 2 scoreless innings with the Rockies.

Signed as an overslot pick in 2008 for $600,000 (5th round), Putnam was ranked as the Cleveland Indians' 10th best prospect entering the season but that may be a little deceptive as the Indians have a pretty weak farm system and Putnam projects more as a middle reliever.

All in all, it's a nice pickup as the Cubs continue to scour the bargain bin for bullpen arms rather than spend big money in free agency.  If Putnam turns out to be a middle reliever, it's a bargain.

The move brings the Cubs roster count to 34.

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  • Kameron Loe just became a FA. He has better numbers in the NL than in the AL. The Cubs could take a look at him.

  • Nice. I'd definitely take a look. Solid walk to K ratios. Solid xFIP the last 3 years.

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    Putnam won't be the last bagain-bin pitching acquisition. We've done a ton of these so far; most don't work out, but some work (Camp and Bowden spring to mind)

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    In reply to Zonk:

    It looks like Theo is looking for lightning in a bottle to fill the bullpen until his waves of pitchers hit the starting rotation. The decision to convert Cabrera to a starter instead of continuing to develop him as a potential closer speaks a lot to where Theo's focus is. I think we're just going to have to live with a bullpen of castoffs for the foreseeable future. Hopefully, we'll start filling it out with guys from our system who are chap and good (Zych, McNutt) like this year's Cardinals in a few years. (Seriously, it's almost unfair that the Cardinals have that much pitching talent in their system.)

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Agreed. We'll see more until enough work to build a decent bullpen.

  • Just follow MLBTR, players are being claimed every few minutes.
    The day is still very young.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Or Twitter.

  • What's with the creative eye black job in that photo? This guy think he's Bryce Harper or something? Better have the stuff to back it up if you're going to take the mound looking like some Mike Tyson wannabe.

  • In reply to Ratmoss:

    Ha! Most of his pictures weren't like that one. He looks younger then too, maybe he thought he could back it up back then.

  • In reply to Ratmoss:

    curious why they used that photo. same colors as Rockies but
    it's from high school. i guess he was allowed a few errors in judgement. never saw him wear as 2 way University of Michigan player.

  • McJuicer just told the Cards he's taking the same job with the Dodgers closer to his source.

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    Hooray! I guess that means Matt Kemp needed some personal training.

  • Wow. I didn't expect that but I suppose he's from there originally.

  • I guess he took them as far as he could the last couple of years and is gettting out of dodge.

  • Good rumor is Cubs traded Marmol to LAA, not sure for who. I think it is Haren! I like!

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