Boston Red Sox make quietly solid move with Zach Putnam

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 8: Zach Putnam #57 of the Chicago White Sox pitches during the game against the Minnesota Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field on Saturday, April 8, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 8: Zach Putnam #57 of the Chicago White Sox pitches during the game against the Minnesota Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field on Saturday, April 8, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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The Boston Red Sox made a very underrated move to upgrade their bullpen by signing Zach Putnam.

The Boston Red Sox bullpen is likely to look much different on Opening Day in 2019. Setup man Joe Kelly has already departed, signing with the Dodgers on a three year deal. Craig Kimbrel is a free agent, and is reportedly looking for a six year deal. While the Red Sox could look to bring Kimbrel back, that price tag is likely to be far too much for their interest.

Even though Kelly is gone, and Kimbrel is likely to sign elsewhere, that does not mean that the Red Sox are neglecting the bullpen. Instead, they have made an intriguing move, inking Zach Putnam to a minor league deal.

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Putnam, who missed all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, only made seven appearances in 2017 before being shut down. However, from 2014 through 2017, the former White Sox reliever was one of the more effective bullpen arms in the game, posting a combined 2.71 ERA and a 1.177 WHiP, striking out 9.6 batters per nine innings.

As Putnam has not pitched since April 22, 2017, he will likely need time to round into form. Spring Training can help, but that is not the same as getting into game action. With this contract, the Red Sox could start Putnam at AAA, allowing him to attempt to get back into form.

Putnam is the perfect lottery ticket for the Red Sox. Should he succeed this season, they would have him under team control for another year, likely at another affordable salary. If he is unable to be the same pitcher he was before his injury, then Boston can cut bait without taking a major hit to the bottom line.

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The Boston Red Sox have made a very underrated signing with Zach Putnam. If he can return to his pre-injury form, then the Red Sox have themselves quite the bargain on a minor league deal.